West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Josh Griffiths has agreed a new deal with the club to extend his stay at The Hawthorns, according to the Express and Star journalist Joseph Masi.
The 19-year-old shot-stopper played a huge part in Cheltenham Town’s title-winning campaign last season as they were promoted to League One, making 44 appearances and keeping an impressive 21 clean sheets in the fourth tier.
He conceded just 37 goals in these 44 appearances and added another six displays to his tally after appearing in the FA and Carabao Cups as well as the EFL Trophy.
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With this, League One promotion chasers Portsmouth and Lincoln City, among other clubs, were said to be keeping tabs on the teenager according to a Daily Mail exclusive, although the former have since recruited Gavin Bazanu on a loan deal from Manchester City after the departure of fan favourite Craig MacGillivray to third-tier rivals Charlton.
But despite this interest, no deal for the 19-year-old is yet to be agreed despite Sam Johnstone and David Button appearing ahead of him in the pecking order.
Former third-choice stopper Andy Lonergan left the Baggies on the expiry of his deal this summer – but with Johnstone and Button set to keep him out of the matchday squad next season – Valerien Ismael could be keen to allow the 19-year-old to go out on loan again.
A loan deal is exactly what Griffiths needs after performing well at a senior level last year. A year in the Under-23s considering his age wouldn’t be a disaster but he will benefit much more from being around a senior dressing room, with experienced players and bigger crowds (Covid-19 restrictions permitting).
Now that a new contract has been reportedly sealed, the Baggies may actively look for potential loan clubs now and with just over four weeks until the new season starts, Griffiths will want his immediate future to be sorted out soon.
This is likely to come down to Valerien Ismael who may want to fully assess him before deciding what to do with him. The Frenchman said he was expecting Sam Johnstone to leave the club in the next couple of months, so this transfer saga could also have a bearing on his future.
He also made comments about utilising some of the Baggies’ academy players next season, so keep an eye out for Josh Griffiths and where he ends up.
Regardless of anything else, this is fantastic news for West Brom fans and definitely a goalkeeper who will start for the club in the future if they give him a chance.