Former West Bromwich Albion forward Kevin Phillips has said it would be a ‘huge boost’ for the Baggies if Sam Johnstone was to pen a fresh deal at The Hawthorns, speaking to West Brom News.
The 28-year-old’s contract is due to expire in less than 12 months, with Valerien Ismael previously resigned to losing the shot-stopper amid interest from the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham United this summer, after impressing many last season despite the West Midlands side’s relegation.
Johnstone was also impressive on international duty, making a fine debut for the Three Lions at the start of June in a friendly and continuing to woo England’s coaches at the European Championships, where it was said he performed admirably in training and was pushing Manchester United’s Dean Henderson to be England’s second-choice keeper even before he withdrew with a hip issue.
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But with West Ham deciding to pursue Paris St-Germain’s Alphonse Areola after having a £6m bid turned down for the West Brom goalkeeper’s services last month, Manchester United seemingly not following up their interest and Arsenal continuing to chase Aaron Ramsdale, it’s looking more and more likely he will remain at The Hawthorns beyond the summer.
Baggies boss Valerien Ismael confirmed the club were in contract negotiations with the 28-year-old in his pre-Luton Town press conference on Friday, which could see one of their star men remain at the Championship side beyond next summer.
Ex-Baggie Kevin Phillips has warmly welcomed this latest update and speaking to West Brom News, he said: “It’s like a new signing.
“Everyone thought he was going to move on with everyone expecting a bid to come in. He was outstanding last season and deserved to get in the England squad.
“If he’s to sign a new contract, that would be a massive boost for everyone concerned. Let’s hope he follows it up this season with the season he had last time out.
“I think he will because he’s a quality ‘keeper. That’s a huge, huge boost for the Baggies. Massive.”
After already seeing one of their key players in Matheus Pereira leave this summer, tying one of their most treasured assets down to a new deal against all odds would probably be West Brom’s signing of the summer, despite being able to recruit midfielder Alex Mowatt for free at the start of July.
If the goalkeeper was to refuse to sign any new deal, they would be in a lose-lose situation because they either face having to sell him for a cut-price fee this summer to avoid losing him next summer or risk seeing him depart The Hawthorns for free at the end of the season.
This would be nothing short of catastrophic for the Baggies, with Johnstone impressing England coaches and the club needing all the revenue they can get to invest in new additions.
Tying Johnstone down would not only keep him in the West Midlands for the foreseeable future, which is a major boost for Valerien Ismael’s side, but it will also go on to increase his price tag if they fail to win promotion this term and the goalkeeper decides he wants to move up to the Premier League again.
Considering he’s in with a shout of making the Three Lions squad again even with Nick Pope returning from injury, a wish to move to the Premier League with or without his current side would make sense. So getting this new deal over the line will be crucial.