Ex-West Bromwich Albion midfielder Carlton Palmer believes a release clause will be inserted into any fresh Sam Johnstone contract at The Hawthorns, speaking to This is Futbol.
Baggies boss Valerien Ismael was resigned to losing the 28-year-old in the previous transfer window, with the shot-stopper impressing in the Premier League despite his side’s relegation and earning himself a call-up to England’s squad for this year’s European Championships.
As per the Daily Mail, Johnstone impressed Three Lions coaches in training and has seemingly leapfrogged Burnley’s Nick Pope and Manchester United’s Dean Henderson to become his national side’s understudy.
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He put in an exceptional performance on his international debut against Romania in June, before starting for Gareth Southgate’s men in their World Cup qualifier against Andorra yesterday evening.
This start against Andorra comes after widespread interest in his services from clubs in the top flight during the summer, with Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham United all said to have previously monitored his situation in the West Midlands.
The latter even submitted a £6m offer in a bid to lure him away from The Hawthorns, though this was rejected despite the England international having less than 12 months left on his current deal as things stand.
With this previous interest in him and the risk of losing him for free, former West Brom midfielder Carlton Palmer believes the recently-relegated Championship side would be prepared to include a release clause in any new deal for the goalkeeper to ensure he extends his stay at the club.
Speaking to This is Futbol, Palmer said: “Sam has to play because he’s part of the England set-up. If he’s not going to play, he will lose his England place.
“I don’t think West Brom would have stood in his way if a club had met his valuation but that didn’t happen. Signing a new contract makes sense for both parties and I’m sure a release clause will be put in there.
“They just need to get that done, put it to bed and get him signed.”
It would be hard to see Johnstone agreeing a new deal at The Hawthorns without a release clause unless he receives a substantial pay rise. Judging by the Baggies’ summer business though, they are unlikely to fork out a huge amount of money on a new deal despite Matheus Pereira’s departure to Al-Hilal.
As per The Sun, they were holding out for £20m for the 28-year-old earlier in the summer, a valuation many Premier League clubs may not have met even if he was tied down to a long-term contract.
This is why he would probably be able to lower his release clause because with his deal running out next summer, the player currently holds and will continue to hold the upper hand at the negotiating table.
Because of this, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a Premier League club poach him in a year or two for £10m-£15m due to this clause, regardless of whether West Brom stay down or are promoted back to the Premier League.
The fact he’s seemingly become England’s second-choice keeper in front of Nick Pope and Dean Henderson just shows his immense quality – and this is why Valerien Ismael’s side need to continue contract negotiations over the coming days and weeks.