This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
West Brom managed to navigate their way through the summer transfer window without losing goalkeeper Sam Johnstone despite there having been interest in him.
That is vital for the Baggies because Johnstone has been one of their most influential performers for the last few years now and he will be essential for their chances of earning promotion under Valerien Ismael this term.
However, according to the latest report from The Athletic, Southampton have emerged as the latest club to have Johnstone on their transfer radar.
It is believed that the England keeper is high on the Saints’ list of targets as they start to gear up plans for the next year with Fraser Forster to be allowed to leave at the end of his deal.
Ismael though has recently claimed that West Brom are in talks with Johnstone over a new deal and the outcome of those talks might determine the chances of Southampton signing him.
So with Southampton interested in Johnstone, we asked our FLW writers whether they feel he would be the right signing for them to make in January, and whether the Baggies would contemplate a sale…
This does look as though it would be an excellent signing for Southampton if they are able to pull this off.
Johnstone was excellent in the Premier League for West Brom last season, and would surely be more than capable of establishing himself as the club’s number one if he was to make the move to St Mary’s.
Indeed, given the level of interest there has been in Johnstone recently, it would also be something of a coup for the Saints were they to complete a deal for the 28-year-old England international, which would be a welcome lift given it does feel like some time since they had such a strong option between the posts.
However, it could also be difficult to pull this off, since West Brom already look strong contenders to win promotion back to the Premier League this season, and if they are still at that point come January, they may look to hold onto Johnstone even if interest emerges, due to the fact that securing an immediate return to the top-flight would put the Baggies in a more promising position to agree a new contract with the goalkeeper.
Quiz: Have West Brom won or lost more against each of these 25 English teams?
I like Johnstone a lot as a keeper and I think he would greatly fit the way that Southampton like to play football.
There is still talk that he could get a new contract at West Brom however, so I wouldn’t say it is a forgone conclusion that he will leave the club.
Clearly every player has his price and it would be up to the Saints to match Albion’s valuation of the shot stopper.
January moves are never easy to pull off, so it will be interesting to see if the club would be open to letting him leave.
I doubt this will be the last we hear of this story over the coming months.
This could be a useful signing for the Saints.
Alex McCarthy is their number one at the moment, but he’s now 31 and isn’t getting any younger, so genuine competition is needed for the long-term.
I also think that the Baggies would be wise to cash in in January, too, as it would be criminal to lose him for nothing at the end of the season.
To be honest, I’m surprised that they didn’t cash in in the summer, but cashing in for some sort of fee in January would be better than losing him on a free.
It suits all parties, in my view.