Southampton could win the race to sign transfer target Sam Johnstone if the England international is given assurances over becoming Saints' first choice goalkeeper, according to the Sun journalist Tom Barclay.
Ralph Hasenhuttl is not the only admirer of the West Bromwich Albion shot-stopper, with Premier League rivals West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur also holding an interest.
Why are Southampton interested in signing Johnstone?
Southampton find themselves in an unusual situation as all three of their goalkeepers - Alex McCarthy, Fraser Forster and Harry Lewis - are due to see their contracts run out at the end of the season.
It means that Saints boss Hasenhuttl is in desperate need of strengthening his squad in the goalkeeper department and Johnstone's West Brom deal is set to expire next summer, meaning he could be available for a cut-price fee when the transfer window reopens in January.
He remains West Brom's first choice goalkeeper despite the uncertainty over his future, with head coach Valerien Ismael revealing in August that discussions over a new deal had begun, and he has gone on to win his first three England caps this year.
What has Tom Barclay said about the situation?
Barclay believes the 6 ft 3 custodian could be persuaded to head to St Mary's rather than West Ham or Tottenham.
The journalist feels Johnstone is likely to stand more chance of becoming the first choice goalkeeper at Southampton than with either of his London suitors.
Barclay told GIVEMESPORT: "Obviously, if they were looking to make him their number one and gave him more assurances of game time, then that might give them an advantage.
"I don't know what Spurs or West Ham would be looking to do and whether they would see Johnstone as being a number one but, just looking at it from the pecking order, you would think he'd get more game time at Southampton."
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Why is he less likely to get game time at West Ham and Spurs?
Lukasz Fabianski is West Ham's first choice goalkeeper and played every minute of the Premier League campaign so far.
Although his contract is set to expire next summer, the Hammers have already prepared for the 36-year-old's expected departure by signing Paris Saint-Germain's Alphonse Areola on a season-long loan which has the option of being made permanent.
Areola's arrival came after the east Londoners failed with a £10million bid for Johnstone during the summer transfer window.
Hugo Lloris remains Spurs' first choice goalkeeper and captain. Although his deal is due to run out at the end of the season, it is expected that he will stay at the club and he has stated he is 'calm and relaxed' over the situation.
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