Transfer News: Tottenham Hotspur face Everton battle for West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone
The keeper is available for free in the upcoming transfer window as the Englishman is set for an exit from the Championship side by running down his current contract, which expires at the end of the season.
Johnstone, who previously represented Manchester United, has been eyed by Spurs as a potential option to provide backup as well as competition for current No.1 Hugo Lloris. Given that Lloris is also the captain of the side, it is unlikely that his place will be under threat in the short term.
Although the Englishman came through the ranks at Carrington, he never went on to make a single senior appearance for United. David de Gea stood in his path as the club’s first-choice, and Johnstone was forced to look elsewhere for opportunities, eventually joining West Brom.
A place in the England squad
Tottenham may believe that they are leading the race to sign the 29-year-old as a free agent, but may face competition from Everton for his signature. The Toffees are said to be watching Johnstone’s developments at the Hawthorns closely, as they could lose their first-choice keeper Jordan Pickford.
The England No.1 finds himself involved in a relegation battle at Goodison Park, and with the World Cup in Qatar rolling around later in the year, he would want to keep his place in the squad and not have to worry about it being affected by Everton’s stay in the top-flight.
Johnstone, meanwhile, is also seeking a move back to the Premier League and has refused to commit to the Baggies. Also being a regular member of the Three Lions squad, he may also be contemplating what happens to his own England career. The player has three England senior caps, but will look to add more and impress, especially in a World Cup year.
Apparently, there has also been interest in the stopper from West Ham United and Southampton. The two PL clubs could use a new goalkeeper as well. Fraser Forster is 34 while the Hammers’ Lukasz Fabianski is 37, with Alphonse Areola set to return to PSG at the end of his loan spell.
Meanwhile, at N17, Lloris is not getting any younger and it could be argued that he is waning in his performances between the sticks of late. The 35-year-old has been at Spurs since 2011 when he joined from Lyon and has become an icon at the club despite not winning any trophies with us.
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Having spent his senior career at United warming the bench and going out on loan, it is only at West Brom that Johnstone got an opportunity to become first-choice in the main squad. Only time will tell if he will be satisfied with becoming deputy to Lloris from next term, having had a similar experience with de Gea at Old Trafford.
But he would know that a long-term place may be vacant when the Frenchman leaves. That is, of course, if we manage to sign him.