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Kevin Phillips hints at Sam Johnstone/West Brom agreement amid Southampton links



Former West Bromwich Albion forward Kevin Phillips believes there has been an agreement between Sam Johnstone and the Baggies that he will happily be allowed to move to the Premier League club at the end of the season even if the Baggies aren’t promoted, speaking to West Brom News.

The 28-year-old has not only been the subject of interest from the likes of Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur recently, but was heavily linked with a move away from The Hawthorns with Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham during the summer transfer window with the trio reported to be monitoring his situation in the West Midlands.

But despite a £6m bid from the latter in July, before pursuing other targets, the shot-stopper failed to secure a move away having been tipped to leave by then-new manager Valerien Ismael earlier in the summer.

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Johnstone has remained as Gareth Southgate’s second-choice goalkeeper for the Three Lions though despite West Brom’s relegation to the Championship, impressing England coaches during the Euro 2020 campaign during the summer and appearing in recent World Cup qualifiers against Andorra.

Performing brilliantly in the away tie and grabbing an excellent assist for Jack Grealish’s goal in the European nation, he will only go on to attract more interest as the January window approaches, but ex-West Brom man Phillips believes an agreement is already in place to prevent a potential winter departure.

Speaking to West Brom News about this thought process on the goalkeeper’s current situation with the Baggies, the 48-year-old said: “Not necessarily (have to leave The Hawthorns to get in England’s 2022 World Cup squad) because he’s playing for his country now and West Brom are in the Championship.

“Gareth Southgate’s proven he’s not scared to pick Championship players but I think perhaps from the player’s point of view, he’s shown great loyalty and could have pushed for a move in the summer.

“He didn’t and he decided to stay, give them another year of his services.

“Maybe there has been an agreement that if they don’t go up, then there may have been hands shaken for him to go to the Premier League.

“From his point of view, it’s a natural thing.

“I sincerely hope West Brom are promotion and he’s playing in the Premier League with them next year.”

The Verdict:

Considering the 28-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, there’s nothing his current club could do to stop him from going to the Premier League in the summer if they remain in the second tier.

But you can see where Phillips is coming from. A mid-season move may not suit Johnstone with the goalkeeper position being such a vital one, with any mistakes likely to be punished, so he would be best served remaining in the Championship for the rest of the campaign having failed to secure a move away in the summer.

He’s definitely a top-flight quality goalkeeper though, there’s no doubt about that, so it would be hard to see him remaining in his current division beyond the end of this campaign.

In a huge boost for West Brom fans, it wouldn’t be impossible to see him signing a new deal with the West Midlands outfit if they can win promotion at the first time of asking, because he knows he will play every week for his current team.

Now is the time for him to continue knuckling down, keep performing well consistently and show why he’s a class above other keepers in the Championship.

Considering the goalkeeping competition in the England squad with the likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Nick Pope and Dean Henderson ready to displace him as Jordan Pickford’s understudy, his place in Southgate’s squad could depend on this consistency.

A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Kevin Phillips hints at Sam Johnstone/West Brom agreement amid Southampton links

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