West Ham have now emerged as the favourites to land West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone in the summer.
Since leaving Manchester United back only in 2018, Sam Johnstone, 28, has developed into one of the top goalkeepers in the country. The 28-year-old’s performances for West Brom have been really impressive, starring in 34 league games in his maiden Premier League campaign. Following his fine form for the Baggies, he was called up to the England squad by manager Gareth Southgate in March for the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.
Despite proving himself to be a standout performer for West Brom, Johnstone couldn’t keep the Midlands club away from relegation at the first time of asking. Interest in the English shot-stopper, nevertheless, has only soared up with Tottenham Hotspur believed to be one of his admirers.
As things stand, it is West Ham that are preparing a bid for Johnstone, who is almost certain to leave the Hawthorns after three solid seasons.
West Ham eyeing a spot in Europe
West Ham performed admirably well this season, with David Moyes bringing a pattern of play to his side. Moyes has certainly shown that he is the right man to turn around the fortunes of the club. Should the next couple of weeks go in favour of West Ham, they could find themselves playing in Europe next season.
After beating relegation last term, the Hammers now challenging for a top-six finish is enough proof of their progress under the tutelage of Moyes. Even if they fail to qualify for Europe, the West Ham board must fully back Moyes in the upcoming summer transfer window.
The Hammers need reinforcements at the back
One of the most important areas Moyes should address is the defence, which has leaked 45 goals in 35 games so far.
Craig Dawson, Angelo Ogbonna and Aaron Cresswell have all performed well in a three-man defence for the Hammers. Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop have all chipped in with fine performances when required. However, the spine of West Ham’s defence—from goalkeeper to centre-backs—is an ageing one, which Moyes must reduce.
Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has been a reliable performer for West Ham ever since arriving from Swansea City in 2018. The Pole signed a contract extension in March until the end of next season, but the shot-stopper is 36.
Fabianski’s deputy is Darren Randolph, who is 34 and his deal expires in 2023, while third-choice David Martin’s contract is up this summer. Thus, in addition to signing a centre-back, the east Londoners would be wise to bring in a younger goalkeeper this summer.
Sam Johnstone would be a smart buy for West Ham
Sam Johnstone has played well in goal for West Brom, keeping six clean sheets in 34 games in the process. A brilliant shot-stopper with a reliable pair of hands and the ability to play out comfortably from the back, Johnstone still has his best years ahead of him and he could well prove himself to be a long-term replacement for the ageing Fabianski.
Rated at around £10m, the English goalkeeper could be a bargain buy for West Ham.