Reported Southampton transfer target Sam Johnstone is stalling on signing a new contract with current club West Brom ahead of becoming a free agent next summer.
That is according to a report from the Sun, who claim Premier League big guns Spurs, Manchester United and Arsenal were all showing interest in the 28-year-old in the recent summer transfer window.
Looking ahead to a 2022 off-season of change in the goalkeeping department at St Mary’s, the Athletic’s Dan Sheldon recently suggested that Johnstone was on Saints’ shortlist as they look to add between the sticks.
Alex McCarthy is said to have agreed to a new three-year deal with the club and this will push current second-choice goalkeeper Fraser Forster out the door next summer to leave space for a new signing.
Will Southampton be able to attract Johnstone to the South Coast?
Despite playing in a West Brom side that suffered relegation from the Premier League in 2020/21, Sam Johnstone is clearly highly thought of around the English game.
He has gained two caps for England in the past three months and looks to be amongst Gareth Southgate’s current top three choices in the goalkeeping department.
His future national team prospects will surely be on his mind when he weighs up a decision on his future. Moving to a top-six club would give him more exposure than at other teams, although his game time could suffer if he has to be second-choice behind another player.
Saints will be using the game time motivation to try and attract Johnstone to St Mary’s. He could well become first-choice straight away if he signed for Saints with Alex McCarthy dropping behind him to provide competition.
If Johnstone gets to January without signing new terms with West Brom, other clubs can also start to negotiate with him over an agreement to join them when his current deal expires.
What is certain is that Saints need to get their choice of goalkeeper right. It is the only position in their team that needs work if Ralph Hasenhuttl is to have access to a competitive squad of high-quality options for the long-term.