Journalist Luke Hatfield believes that West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone could stay at the club this summer and potentially leave on a free transfer at the end of the season.
The goalkeeper has been at the centre of a transfer saga throughout the transfer window, as he has been heavily linked with a potential move to West Ham United.
They have signed Alphonse Areola on loan from PSG instead, though, leaving Johnstone’s future up in the air.
Will West Brom sell Johnstone?
Both Arsenal and Leeds United have also been linked but Hatfield is of the opinion that clubs may decide to wait until next summer, when they may be able to lure him away from The Hawthorns for nothing.
However, he admits that may be a risky strategy, as interest will surely increase given the affordability of a deal.
Johnstone impressed last season as the Baggies were relegated and actually made the most saves in the Premier League of any goalkeeper.
Hatfield said: “Yeah, there is always that opportunity because clubs will look at it and say ‘why should we pay money for you now when in a year’s time, you’re out of contract and we can sign you for free?’
“The risk that they play then, of course, is that the summer comes and then there are six or seven clubs interested in Sam Johnstone and all of a sudden, you’ve got to offer improved terms over all of those.
“You’ll maybe end up paying more wages than you’d hope to for him and a signing-on fee as well. Although you don’t pay a transfer fee, you’ll probably shell out a pretty hefty signing-on fee for him.”
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