By Nick Ware

10th Oct, 2021 | 11:10am

West Ham prepared to make 2022 Sam Johnstone move as Southampton join race for England goalkeeper

West Ham are still eyeing a move for Sam Johnstone with his West Brom future far from certain, according to The Sun.

The England goalkeeper, who was hailed for his “perfect” assist against Andorra by Roy Keane on Saturday [ITV], sees his West Brom contract expire in June 2022.

The Irons were heavily linked with a move for the 28-year-old in the summer but eventually plumped for PSG’s Alphonse Areola.

However, the Frenchman is only at the London Stadium on loan, and West Ham, alongside Tottenham Hotspur, are said to have “pencilled in offers” for Johnstone, should he leave West Brom next year.

Southampton have also joined the race for him, and are willing to pay a fee in January instead of waiting it out until the summer.

Ticks a few boxes…

Johnstone is an ideal signing for the Irons in many ways.

The club wouldn’t have to shell out on a transfer fee for him, while his wages are unlikely to be excessive given he has spent most of his career in the Championship.

He’s also young enough to improve while he has accrued considerable experience over the last few years with West Brom and England, and he would also count as a homegrown player for squad registration purposes.

However, all that aside, is he a better goalkeeper than Areola?

West Ham fans are yet to see too much of Areola in a West Ham shirt with Lukasz Fabianski still preferred as number one, but the World Cup winner was a standout performer for Fulham last term, similar to Johnstone as both shot-stoppers endured relegation from the Premier League.

Areola looks to be better with his feet, though, and with more experience at the top level.

Realistically, either would be a suitable successor to Fabianski, and the Irons can’t really go wrong here.

In other West Ham news, the Irons want to sign this 22-year-old La Liga breakout star with a ‘very attractive’ release clause.

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