Manchester United to rival Tottenham Hotspur for the signing of goalkeeper Sam Johnstone on a free transfer this summer
According to Sky Sports journalist Rob Dorsett on Twitter (h/t Express), Manchester United will be locked in a transfer battle with Tottenham Hotspur to secure the services of West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone in the summer.
Johnstone is a former United academy product, coming through the ranks at Carrington while trying to break into the senior side with his performances for the reserve squad. However, he had to make do with a substitute role while in Manchester given the presence of David de Gea in goal for the first team.
This would see the Englishman leave his boyhood club in search of opportunities elsewhere, joining West Brom, who had just been relegated to the Championship after dropping down from the Premier League.
#mufc and #thfc to battle it out for the signature of goalkeeper Sam Johnstone in the summer. Johnstone won’t sign a new #wba contract, when it expires at the end of the season, as he seeks a return to the Premier League. Bruce said on Saturday he expects him to leave.— Rob Dorsett (@RobDorsettSky) April 12, 2022
Despite dropping down a level in the English football pyramid, the 29-year-old has established himself as first-choice for the Baggies while also earning regular call-ups to represent England on the international stage.
Manchester reunion for Johnstone?
Now, it is reported that Johnstone will not be signing a new deal with his current club, given that his current contract expires at the end of the season. West Brom manager Steve Bruce also confirmed over the weekend that he expected his goalkeeper to leave.
The player is set to be targeting a return to the Premier League, with his former club Man United and Tottenham looking to battle it out for his signature. He had previously made appearances in the English top-flight at the Hawthorns when his current side were still playing in the Premier League.
It will be interesting to see if Johnstone will prefer a move back to his former employers to once again play a substitute role, given that de Gea is still first-choice at the club and the rise of Dean Henderson in recent seasons will see the West Brom man compete for a spot on the bench.
His reason for leaving the Red Devils the first time was down to barely featuring for the Manchester side, and it would feel like history was repeating itself if he joined Man United in the summer for free. Only time will tell if a possible reunion will take place ahead of the new season.
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Tottenham meanwhile, may be looking for replacements for an ageing Hugo Lloris in the near future, and Johnstone would make a good fit to succeed the club captain. There may be more opportunities to shine for the Englishman in north London, with the backup keepers at Spurs not looking up to the mark when given a rare opportunity to play.
The Lilywhites may provide him more chances at playing regular first-team football in the near future, but it may be foolish of us to give up on a chance to add to our bench strength, that too for free. Ultimately, the decision is up to Johnstone in the summer, so it will be interesting to see which team he picks.