Sunday, October 2, 2022

West Ham United Trailing Tottenham Hotspur For This English Ace: Should Moyes Step Up His Pursuit?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, ESPN has claimed that West Ham United are trailing Tottenham Hotspur for West Bromwich Albion keeper Sam Johnstone in this offseason. It is believed that the Hammers are keeping tabs on the English custodian’s situation at the Hawthorns but are facing competition from Spurs and Leeds United in the race to land him this summer (via ESPN).

Johnstone’s Difficult Season At The Hawthorns

The Preston-born talent has endured a tough season with the Baggies thus far after struggling to help his team find some consistency in terms of their results in the Premier League. The 28-year-old has featured in 29 league matches for the West Midlands side this term, conceding 57 goals and securing five clean sheets in the process.

Despite West Brom’s relegation concerns, Johnstone has caught the eye by averaging 1.0 clearances and 8.3 long balls per game in the English top-flight. However, his accuracy has been woeful when distributing the ball as he has made only 45.9% of his attempted passes in league football (stats via whoscored).

Johnstone’s current contract with the Baggies is set to expire at the end of next season. Therefore, if Sam Allardyce’s side does end up getting relegated, it is likely that the player would want to leave in the summer which could open the door for any of his potential suitors, including West Ham, to sign him.

West Ham United trailing Tottenham for Johnstone who is seen in the picture
Sam Johnstone of West Bromwich Albion during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: 3rd April 2021. Picture credit should read: David Klein/Sportimage PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK SPI-0985-0072

What Does The English Goalie Offer On The Pitch?

Johnstone boasts decent reflexes that help him make some solid saves at the back. He can pull off some quick dives to come to his team’s rescue and standing at 1.93m, he can use his frame to be a dominant presence inside his penalty area which makes him a good handler of the ball as well.

The three-time England Under-20 international can also position himself well and is not afraid to put his foot through the ball to make a clearance when needed. However, he has sometimes been guilty of being inconsistent with his performances this season which he needs to rectify if he wants to succeed at the highest level.

Should The Hammers Step Up Their Pursuit Of Johnstone?

At 28, Johnstone is currently at the prime stage of his playing career, so West Ham boss David Moyes can expect to get the best out of him if he managed to fend off competition from Spurs and Leeds in pursuit of the player. The Hammers are in dire need of finding a long-term replacement for Lukasz Fabianski who will enter the final year of his contract at the London Stadium this summer.

With all things considered, it makes a lot of sense for the East London outfit to orchestrate a move to bring Johnstone on board ahead of the new season as he will undeniably add more depth to their squad.

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