According to a report by the Daily Mail, on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone could be a popular figure come the summer as Premier League clubs look to make a change in net.
The report states that West Ham could be the early favorite for the 25-year-old netminder, as the Hammers are looking to move on from England starter Joe Hart. With Johnstone also in the mix for the England job before the 2018 World Cup, Hart could be threatened by the Manchester United youth product on two fronts. Another England shot-stopper Jack Butland proclaimed Johnstone is in direct competition for a spot on the World Cup roster despite remaining currently uncapped.
“I don’t live too far away from Sam and I bump into him a lot,” Butland said of his fellow countryman. “It is great to see him playing consistently. He has found a home and a club that cares for him, which is so important. There is more than just me, Joe, and Jordan [Pickford] fighting for the England shirt – Sam is firmly in the mix as well.”
Johnstone has spent this season on loan at Championship side Aston Villa, where the Claret & Blue sit in a playoff position. They have allowed just 37 goals this season, joint-fourth best in the league, with Johnstone in goal for every minute of the campaign.
Hart, meanwhile, has struggled with the Hammers. The England number 1 lost his starting job to Adrian in early December before starting West Ham’s most recent Premier League match before the international break, a 3-0 loss to Burnley. The Hammers sit in 17th position in the Premier League, just two points above safety, and relegation could mean Hart’s departure, although there’s a feeling that he may leave even if the Hammers do manage to stay up.
Johnstone has been sent out on loan seven times in his six professional years with Manchester United, but could potentially find a permanent home this summer if the right club comes calling.