West Ham transfer rumours: Irons set to step up interest in Premier League ace

West Brom goalkeeper and West Ham target Sam Johnstone warming up

West Ham are set to make an approach for West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone ahead of the summer transfer window, as reported by Football Insider.

What's the latest news on Sam Johnstone?

The Irons are looking to sign a goalkeeper this summer who can provide cover and compete with current no. 1 Lukasz Fabianski.

Now that West Brom's relegation to the Championship has been officially confirmed, they are set to step up their interest in Johnstone.

They could face competition to sign him, though, with Tottenham and Manchester United both reportedly keeping tabs on the 28-year-old as well.

Have West Ham been linked with Johnstone before?

They have indeed. 

Back in 2018, the Hammers were reportedly lining up a £4m bid to sign the 6 foot 4 shot-stopper, who was flourishing on loan at Aston Villa.

The move failed to materialise, though, as Johnstone saw out the season at Villa Park before being picked up by West Brom in July 2018.

What are Johnstone's stats this season?

West Brom have conceded the most goals in the Premier League this term, but Johnstone can still be proud of his campaign in between the sticks. If he had not been on hand, the Baggies' goal difference could have taken even more of a battering.

According to FbRef, Johnstone has made 145 saves in the top-flight in 2020/21 - this is more than any other goalkeeper in the division. West Ham's Fabianski has made 90 for the east London club.

Johnstone also holds the advantage when it comes to save percentage compared with Fabianski. He has saved 70.7% of the shots he's faced, while Fabianski is down at 68.5%.

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Is he a ready-made replacement for Fabianski?

He seems to be.

At 28, Johnstone looks as though he is entering his prime, and he can hold his head high despite being part of a team that are set to drop back down to the second tier next season.

Although it is suggested that West Ham might just be looking for someone to provide cover for Fabianski due to not having particularly strong back-up options at the moment, it appears unlikely that Johnstone will settle for being second-best.

Nor should he. His statistics indicate that he has outperformed Fabianski this season, albeit not by much when it comes to save percentage.

Still, these small percentages matter. West Ham look set to just miss out on Champions League football this season, and will need to look for how they can make marginal gains to go one step further next year to secure a top four finish.

Bringing in Johnstone as their new first-choice goalkeeper could be just the sort of signing that can help them build on their highly impressive 2020/21 campaign.

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