Sam Johnstone

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Report: Goalkeeper merry-go-round? West Ham looking for Hart replacement

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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.

United keeper Johnstone poised for move away from Old Trafford

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Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has been an afterthought during his time at Manchester United, however, the 24-year-old could finally have an opportunity to make a push with a Premier League side next season.

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The United youth product has never made a first-team appearance for the Red Devils and gone on nine separate loan spells away from Old Trafford throughout his young career, including most recently to Championship side Aston Villa during the 2016/17 campaign.

Johnstone’s agent has admitted though that there are “a number of options” available to his client in the Premier League ahead of the new season, which begins in August.

“Sam has a number of options and is considering them all at this moment in time,” a representative for his agents James Grant Sports said in regards to Johnstone’s future.

Sitting behind world-class keeper David De Gea, Sergio Romero and Joel Pereira in the United goalkeeping pecking order, a number of have PL clubs have reportedly expressed interest in Englishman, including Leicester City and Huddersfield Town.

Manchester United sign Sergio Romero, say David de Gea may leave for Real Madrid

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Manchester United is already preparing for the exit of David de Gea, as the Premier League outfit has signed Argentine international goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

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Romero, 28, has arrived from Serie A side Sampdoria on a free transfer and has signed a three-year contract at United. He has been the starting goalkeeper for La Albiceleste since 2010 and played under United boss Louis van Gaal in the past when the duo won the Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar in 2009.

With uncertainty remaining around de Gea’s situation and Victor Valdes frozen out by van Gaal, getting in a new goalkeeper this summer was of paramount importance as youngster Sam Johnstone was the only other option.

Speaking about the reason for signing Romero, van Gaal was typically blunt and up front.

“I think that in our circumstances, with the threat that David de Gea is going to Real Madrid, we have to prepare our season,” van Gaal said. “I think Sergio Romero can fulfill that because you have to handle very quickly when it may happen with David de Gea.”

Romero struggled to get in Sampdoria’s team last team, only playing 11 times, but the Argentine has showcased his talents on the world stage and made some crucial penalty kick saves when Argentina beat the Netherlands, coached by LVG, in the 2014 World Cup semifinals.

With Real Madrid playing hardball over the potential purchase of DDG and not wanting to include club captain Sergio Ramos in any deal, plus signing Kiko Casilla after selling club legend Iker Casillas to FC Porto, United are now preparing for life without their Spanish ‘keeper even if it means Romero will sit on the bench for his first season at Old Trafford.

De Gea is likely to leave on a free transfer next summer, but van Gaal is letting his current No. 1 know that every player is replaceable and this move to sign Romero could force de Gea into either signing a new deal with the Red Devils or sealing his move to Real this summer so United can recoup some cash. Either way, Romero becomes United’s fifth signing of a busy summer but plenty more ins and outs are expected.