Football League World exclusively learned last Thursday that West Brom were one of four Championship clubs monitoring the progress of Plymouth Argyle goalkeeper Michael Cooper.
Naming Sheffield United, Birmingham City, and Coventry City as the three other second-tier clubs with an interest in the 21-year-old, the same report outlined that Aston Villa, Brentford, and Southampton are providing higher-level competition.
Cooper, who has kept four clean sheets in League One during the club’s first eight league games, is part of a Plymouth team who are excelling in the third tier this season.
The Pilgrims are currently fourth in the table and are now unbeaten in the last eight games.
Quiz: Have West Brom ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
Speaking to West Brom News about the prospect of his former club signing the highly-rated shot-stopper, Kevin Phillips said: “It’s natural and it’s just common sense to make contingency plans.
“We don’t know what’s going on, we don’t know what’s being said. Maybe Johnstone’s already said, ‘I’ll give it my best this season and then I want out’. You don’t know, that might have been a conversation that’s been had.
“It’s sensible business for the club to look at a back-up goalkeeper.
“I don’t know enough about Cooper so you’ve got to trust the judgement of the scouts.
“ If they’re looking at him he must be a decent ‘keeper, Plymouth are doing well so it smells a bit like they’re making a back-up plan in case Johnstone leaves.”
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To be competing at the top end of League One with a side who most would expect to be battling around the mid-table region is excellent for Plymouth.
To be doing all that with a vastly inexperienced goalkeeper like Cooper outlines what a player he already is, and what a big future he could have.
The future of Sam Johnstone remains to be seen, and if he does depart, then moving for Cooper seems very logical.
The young goalkeeper can grow with West Brom, and given that he is shining in League One, he could be very near to operating regularly at Championship level.