Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone may have played his final match for West Brom amid interest from West Ham, according to The Mirror.
The newspaper have reported via their print edition [6 January, page 55] that Johnstone, 28, has been banned for three matches after a red card at the weekend and that may spell the end of his time at The Hawthorns.
Johnstone’s contract at the Baggies expires in the summer so this transfer window is the last chance the West Midlands club has to cash in on the England international.
West Ham and Southampton are reportedly in hot pursuit of the former Manchester United shot-stopper, who’s conceded just 17 goals in 24 Championship appearances.
Is it realistic?
West Ham are likely to need a new goalkeeper in the near future – but not this month.
Lukasz Fabianski’s contract expires at the end of this season so David Moyes may need to replace him.
However, Alphonse Areola is sitting in the wings and waiting to take the number one shirt at the London Stadium should Fabianski move on in the summer.
If that’s the case then why would Johnstone join us when he knows he might not be Moyes’ first-choice goalkeeper?
Johnstone was one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League last season despite West Brom’s relegation – even Gary Lineker dubbed his performances as “unbelievable“.
He’s good enough to start for us and also get in the England squad – but he won’t make Gareth Southgate’s World Cup team if he’s a second-choice goalkeeper here.
Johnstone is probably better off staying at West Brom if they get promoted back to the Premier League but he won’t be able to do that if he leaves this month.
We’ll see what happens but clubs rarely buy a new number one in January so moving elsewhere to be a benchwarmer is a risky move by Johnstone in regards to his World Cup hopes.
In other West Ham news, an “extraordinary” offer could see the Irons bag this centre-back in January.
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