Southampton May Try To Land Championship Star In January
Wednesday, 10th Nov 2021 09:21
With the opening of the transfer window now barely seven weeks away the rumour mill is starting to turn again at ever decreasing speed and Saints are being linked again with a goalkeeper., but they may have some serious competition.
West Bromwich Albion's goalkeeper Sam Johnstone will be out of contract next summer, but the Baggies may well opt to launch a bidding war for his services in the January transfer window rather than let him leave for nothing a few months later.
The problem they have is that they sit 3rd in the Championship table on 32 points and are capable of hauling back both Fulham who are 6 points ahead and even Bournemouth on 40 points.
So they have to make a calculated gamble that if they take the money for Johnstone they can replace him, of the other keepers at the club, back up David Button has barely played a League game 4 years and since December 2017 he has played only 4 in the Premier League for Brighton and only 2 for West Brom since joining them in the summer of 2020, he will turn 33 in February and it is a big ask to throw him into a promotion battle.
So whether West Brom take the money in January will depend on several things not least money, can they get enough to buy a decent keeper in January and if not will it then be worth keeping Johnstone and hoping he helps them back to the Premier League, if he does then they will not only have the money to replace him, but they also might be able to persuade him to sign a new deal, but Johnstone himself will be 29 in March and may feel that he wants a little stability in the Premier League in the last part of his career rather than the up and down West Brom experience.
Saints are again linked with the keeper who has broken into the England squad, but according to the latest stories they will be joined by West Ham United in the chase.
On the face of it that could be a big blow for Saints hopes of landing Johnstone, West ham are flying at the moment and harbour hopes of breaking into the top six on a regular basis and that means European campaigns as well.
Their problem is that they have an ageing side in key positions, Mikael Antonio is approaching 32, as is defender Aaron Creswell, Angelo Ogbanna is 33 and their regular keeper Lukasz Fabianski will be 37 by the time the season ends.
Their back up keeper Alphonse Areola is only on a season long loan from PSG and although they may look to make that permanent, given their current status and the age of the squad they will be looking to make some astute signings in key positions not just in January but next summer.
So if Saints want to land Johnstone they may have to do so in January and pay the price, the Hammers may want to stick with Fabianski for the remainder of the season and then review things, but Saints could opt to make their move and get the deal done in the New Year.
They also have the option of sweetening the deal for the Baggies by offering Fraser Forster on loan for the remainder of the season.
So it will be interesting whether Saints will make a bid in January, I think this will be their best option if they are serious about Johnstone, but it may not be in their hands, if West Ham are genuinely interested and it is not just agents stirring up the pot, then they are likely to have spoken to the players agent and it could be they will be asking him to get his client to stay put for the rest of the season and then join the Hammers for a free in the summer.
Photo: Action Images
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When Saturday Comes #16 by wessex_exile
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When Saturday Comes #12 by wessex_exile
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