Manchester United are reportedly mulling over the prospect of triggering a clause in goalkeeper Sam Johnstone’s contract. This would extend his deal by a further year and would help increase the transfer fee of the Englishman.
It is no secret that Johnstone is looking to move out of Old Trafford in search of regular first-team football. The 24-year-old is currently on loan at Championship side Aston Villa for a second consecutive season. The Villains are desperate to sign him on a permanent basis and the player is receptive to the idea as well.
Former Red Devils’ great Steve Bruce is currently in charge of Villa and has already expressed his happiness at how the ‘keeper has settled at the club and has impressed with his performances and attitude.
“We will do everything in our power to get him here permanently,” he said. (Quoted by Express)
“He is going to find it difficult at United to break through because of what they have got so we are hopeful.”
It is now being reported by Daily Express (h/t Clubcall) that United had already included a 12-month renewal clause in his contract, that was signed last year, aware of the fact that it may help them increase the transfer fee.
It is a sign of the strength in goalkeeping position at Old Trafford that a player of the calibre of Johnstone has no future at the club. David de Gea is a confirmed No. 1 while Sergio Romero is a regular in Cup competitions. Then, there is the young and highly-rated Joel Pereira who is expected to compete for the first-team spot soon.
That leaves Johnstone almost always on the sidelines and the Englishman is yet to make a first-team appearance for the Red Devils. Though he was impressive in pre-season friendlies, Johnston has been making only loan moves. To go with his Villa park exploits, Johnstone has impressed on loan at Preston North End, Oldham Athletic, Scunthorpe United, Walsall, Yeovil Town and Doncaster Rovers.
His current deal expires next summer which means he would be a free agent but United expect to get close to £5m from Villa by triggering the extension. Wherever he goes, the Red Devils want to make sure that they get a substantial fee for their young Academy prospect. A wise move I’d say, but it is always hard to let go of a decent talent.