Chris Lepkowski has been giving his thoughts on Sam Johnstone’s future when speaking on the latest episode of The Liquidator.
Following West Brom’s relegation from the Premier League last season, it almost appeared inevitable that Johnstone would move on from the Baggies considering his form – which earned him his first England cap – as well as the fact that he only had one year left on his deal. Despite this, the shot-stopper is still number one at The Hawthorns.
Will West Brom be promoted to the Premier League this season?
There certainly was interest from Premier League clubs over the summer, which is no surprise considering he racked up the most saves out of any ‘keeper last season. West Ham United launched a £6 million bid for Johnstone, only for them to eventually bring in Alphonse Areola on loan from Paris Saint-Germain instead.
Although Johnstone has stuck around, Lepkowski is not holding out much hope for his future with the Baggies.
“I feel that we’re perhaps a little bit fortunate to keep him. There clearly wasn’t the appetite for many of the Premier League clubs to take a chance on him.
“It’s just a shame that we’re in a position now where we probably know we’re going to lose him for nothing, because all those years ago, his contract was mismanaged a little bit, they didn’t sort out a new contract or an extension for him, then that made him vulnerable to going for a knockdown price in the last window.
“Now, unless he signs a new deal – and I honestly don’t see why he would – it feels like we’re going to lose him for nothing at the end of this season.”
TIF Thoughts on Johnstone…
West Brom certainly pulled off a major coup being able to keep hold of Johnstone, and despite dropping out of England’s top flight, he’s clearly rated highly enough by Gareth Southgate that he was picked for the latest international squad which saw him start, keep a clean sheet and claim an assist against Andorra, keeping Nick Pope out of the squad at the same time.
The Baggies are reaping the rewards of keeping Johnstone at the club as they boast the third-best defence in the Championship, only bettered by table-toppers Bournemouth and rock-bottom Derby County, who have both shipped eight goals compared to West Brom’s nine.