United and Spurs among clubs in race for West Brom’s Sam Johnstone

Sam Johnstone of West Bromwich Albion. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
Sam Johnstone of West Bromwich Albion. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images) /

Manchester United and Tottenham are set to go toe to toe in a race to secure the signature of West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone in the summer.

Sky Sports report a number of clubs including Southampton are also thought to be interested in the 29-year-old who is out of contract at the Hawthorns in June.

Johnstone began his career in the North-West rising through Man United’s academy, which saw him loaned to seven clubs before eventually seeking pastures new having not made a competitive appearance for the Red Devils.

Since arriving at West Brom for a fee in the region of £6.5m in 2018, the England international has proven a reliable servant, helping his side to automatic promotion back to the Premier League in the 2019/20 season.

Their status in the top-flight was short-lived, however, with the West-Midlands side condemned to relegation the following season.

Viewed as a rare shining light in an otherwise subpar squad, Johnstone finished atop the Premier League’s ranking for saves made with 148 but sat 18th in the clean sheet table (6).

In their first season back in the Championship, West Brom haven’t enjoyed a bounce back similar to that of Fulham and Bournemouth who currently sit in the automatic promotion spots.

The Baggies lie a middle-of-the-road 12th, following a strong start that subsided after the divisive sacking of Valérien Ismaël to be replaced by Steve Bruce.

As a result, their supporter’s hopes of an instant return to first-rate English football has declined in parallel with their hopes of retaining the services of Johnstone.

The likelihood is that Sam is going to leave,” Bruce admitted after West Brom’s loss at home to Stoke City on Saturday, before reassuring fans that they are “blessed in that department”.

Where will Sam Johnstone end up?

As per the same report, his former employers have kept an eye on Johnstone since his departure.

Under their yet to be confirmed new management, United are set to undergo an overhaul in a variety of positions with their choice of goalkeepers included in that.

First-choice David De Gea has himself been a scarce source of optimism in an otherwise indifferent campaign for the Mancunian giants, but reserve keeper Dean Henderson is thought to be nearing the exit door.

Another product of their famed academy, Henderson – alike Johnstone – has failed to cement a starting spot and will reportedly look to achieve this elsewhere.

In respects of Tottenham, club captain and long-time servant Hugo Lloris holds the number ‘one’ spot and is as equally unlikely as De Gea to be dislodged.

A switch to either side would result in a limited role at least for the time being, which leans towards Southampton being the ideal landing spot.

Ralph Hasenhüttl’s current options include the experienced Fraser Forster and Willy Caballero behind the injured Alex McCarthy.

Paul Pogba advised to call time on United career. light. More

Through analysing the short-term profile of the latter two alongside McCarthy who hasn’t pinned down the starting spot, Johnstone would be well within contention for the top job.

Therefore, it is a case of the player’s motivations.