It has been reported that free agent Johnstone is set to join Crystal Palace following the expiration of his contract with Championship side West Brom, however, no announcement has yet been forthcoming.
Johnstone will arrive off the back of an indifferent season with the Baggies, in which they failed to earn promotion at the first time of asking, while Johnstone himself lost his place in the England squad after a stunning 2020/21 top-flight campaign which saw him save the most shots in the league.
Cook decided to go out of his way and ask West Brom supporters what Johnstone is good at and what he perhaps needs to improve on, and revealed his findings on the HLTCO podcast.
He said: “I’ve made a concerted effort across the last few days to speak to West Brom fans about exactly what sort of goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is and what potentially Crystal Palace will be getting in his services.
Will Johnstone start for Palace?
“The general consensus seems to be that he is a fantastic shot-stopper when it comes to efforts from inside the penalty area. His reflexes are very good, he can shift himself across goal very quickly and he will be an asset in terms of shot-stopping from 18 yards.
“The Achilles heel in his game – which is quite ironic, I suppose, given what I’ve been big on over the last 12 months in terms of Patrick Vieira looking for in a goalkeeper – is that he doesn’t seem to be particularly confident with his feet.”
TIF Thoughts on Johnstone joining Palace…
The shot-stopper would likely be an upgrade on Jack Butland, who’s failed to make a serious impression at Palace since joining in 2020, racking up just 17 appearances across all competitions, and with Vicente Guaita now 35 years old, Johnstone could take over from the ageing Palace man this season.
However, if what Cook alluded to is correct and Patrick Vieira is looking for a ‘keeper that’s good with the ball at his feet, that could well be why this deal has dragged on for so long as Vieira may well be looking at alternatives.