Premier League side Southampton have entered the running to sign West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, according to The Sun.
As per the same report, the Saints are willing to make a move for the 28-year-old in January to avoid losing him to another club, with considerable interest in his services during the summer.
Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham were three clubs said to be interested in acquiring the England international after the Baggies’ relegation back to the Championship, with Tottenham Hotspur also expressing an interest in him after previously targeting Aaron Ramsdale earlier in the year. The latter two are said to have ‘pencilled in offers’ for Johnstone.
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But with West Ham launching the only reported formal move for the goalkeeper during the previous transfer window, submitting a £6m bid that was swiftly rejected by officials at The Hawthorns, he potentially looked set to remain at the club with contract negotiations being talked up and a ‘lucrative’ terms being touted.
However, these talks have reportedly stalled with his deal in the West Midlands expiring next summer and no guarantees that Valerien Ismael’s will return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
The former Manchester United youth product has seemingly established himself as England’s second-choice goalkeeper behind Jordan Pickford after impressing in the summer – and grabbed a wonderful assist for the Three Lions’ fifth goal in Andorra last night.
Considering the Baggies aren’t guaranteed to be promoted with the likes of AFC Bournemouth and Fulham in the running to potentially take the two automatic promotion spots, it’s no real surprise Johnstone has stalled on talks recently.
Although the ability to negotiate more lucrative terms could be tempting for the 28-year-old, he now seems to be a firm favourite of Gareth Southgate after doing well in training during the European Championships and may want to cement his place in the Three Lions’ setup with a move back to the Premier League.
If Valerien Ismael’s side are promoted, it would be no surprise to see him sign a new contract at The Hawthorns. But regular first-team football in the Premier League would be ideal and he would be in line to become the Saints’ first-choice shot-stopper if he arrived on the south coast.
At 28, Johnstone still has a lot to give so this is a deal that could easily happen if the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United can’t guarantee him regular football.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have failed to win any of their opening seven games and currently find themselves hovering dangerously above the relegation zone though, so he may put a potential move to St Mary’s on hold until they can stabilise themselves.