The Lowdown: Exciting future
The 22-year-old has received heavy praise for a number of promising performances this season, with former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson hailing the full-back as “absolutely brilliant” after his display in the Hammers’ win over Liverpool in November.
The youngster has added to West Ham’s improved defensive record this season, averaging two tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game in the Premier League. He has also impressed on the European stage, averaging 1.5 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per Europa League match (via WhoScored).
Despite this, Johnson is yet to establish himself as David Moyes’ first-choice option at right-back, with the position currently held by Vladimir Coufal.
The Latest: Thomas reveals Johnson contract snub
According to a report from Thomas for The Athletic, which he subsequently shared via Twitter with the summary: “West Ham United offered Ben Johnson a six-and-a-half-year contract but failed to reach an agreement with the defender”.
However, when negotiations stagnated, the club instead activated a two-year clause in Johnson’s contract, which was due to expire in May. As a result, the 22-year-old’s new deal runs until the summer of 2024.
The Verdict: Uncertain future for Johnson
With Coufal turning 30 later in the year, David Moyes may well be analysing his options for a long-term replacement. Consequently, he could be looking at Johnson to become the Czech defender’s successor, whose potential is proving to be an exciting prospect for the club.
However, Moyes may need to reassess this line of thinking. Although Thomas has reported that Johnson is happy at the club and that negotiations will likely reopen early next year, it may come as a worry to Irons supporters that one of their brightest young talents was willing to reject such a huge contract offer which would keep him at the London Stadium for years to come.
Indeed, Grady Diangana – now at West Bromwich Albion – agreed a six-year extension in 2019, but left the club permanently just a year later.
Johnson’s rejection could indicate his willingness to leave the club upon the expiry of his current deal, so the Hammers boss may need to re-evaluate his options in case this comes to fruition.
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