Championship

Johnstone done: Now West Brom must land £7.2m-rated star to seriously enhance promotion hopes

According to the club’s official website, West Brom have completed a deal for 25-year-old goalkeeper Sam Johnstone. The former England youth international makes the permanent switch to the Hawthorns after over a decade on the books at Manchester United, with his most recent spell at Midlands rivals Aston Villa underlining his credentials as a hugely adept Championship goalkeeper.

And having bolstered an area of the West Brom squad that clearly needed strengthening, manager Darren Moore must now seek to land £7.2 million-rated star James Chester (as per Transfermarkt) if the Baggies are to stand a chance of an immediate Premier League return.

The Breakdown

Ultimately, 25-year-old Johnstone has been brought in as a replacement for Ben Foster, with reports suggesting that the 35-year-old is on the verge of a return to the top-flight with Watford, where he spent two separate loan spells between 2005 and 2007.

And given how impressive Johnstone was for Villa last season, in which he kept 22 clean sheets and shipped just 42 goals in 48 Championship appearances, the Baggies have got themselves a remarkably talented goalkeeper, and one that can be relied upon to produce the goods in the second tier.

But with the centre back ranks also lacking in sufficient depth heading into the new season, what with Jonny Evans sold to Leicester City and Gareth McAuley released, it’s clear that Moore must strengthen that department if his side are to bounce back to the top-flight at the first time of asking – Chester’s arrival would do just that.

The 29-year-old was another who played a key part in Villa’s rise to fourth place in the Championship last season in starting every single one of their 49 league games over the course of the campaign, helping Steve Bruce’s side to one of the best defensive records in the division.

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And having produced the goods for Hull City in the past, both in the Championship and indeed the Premier League, the Wales international is arguably one of the best defenders currently outside of the top-flight, and as such would be the perfect addition to any side seeking to win promotion from the second tier this season.

And with Villa reportedly struggling financially and perhaps ready to offload some of their most prized assets to raise funds, West Brom should try their hand with a move for the 29-year-old, as his arrival would go some way to filling the centre back void vacated by Evans and McAuley.

Thus, with a deal for Johnstone done, Moore must seek another move which is going to seriously strengthen their promotion chances, namely by luring Chester, who spent one season at the Hawthorns in 2015/16, back to the Baggies.

West Brom fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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