West Ham United could make a deadline-day beating swoop for West Brom star Sam Johnstone in this final week of the January transfer window.
What’s the story?
According to The Daily Mirror (print edition, 28/01 page 58, via The 72), the Hammers – along with Premier League rivals Spurs and Southampton – could make a late January move for the goalkeeper.
It’s added that, following Johnstone’s absence against Preston North End last time out despite having already served his suspension, there are rumours of a rift between him and Baggies boss Valerien Ismael.
Premier League proven
The big thing for Moyes will be that Johnstone already has plenty of Premier League experience under his belt given his stint in the top-flight last season with West Brom, while he’s also an England international to boot.
The 28-year-old’s former boss Steve Bruce labelled the shot-stopper a “diamond”, and given the kind of shift he had to put in last season at The Hawthorns, it’s no surprise why he has earned such praise.
No goalkeeper in the Premier League faced more shots on target (228) than Johnstone, while no goalkeeper made as many saves as him either (161) – it was no surprise then that he earned rave reviews for his performances, with Micah Richards hailing his former team-mate as “exceptional” last year.
Despite the Baggies being relegated from the Premier League, Gareth Southgate called up Johnstone for the England squad in September for the Three Lions’ World Cup qualifiers – an indication that the level at which he’s playing right now isn’t quite where his actual ability lies.
The £7.2m-rated star would be a shrewd signing for the Hammers and would have Moyes delighted if this prospective deal gets done.