By Nick Ware

2nd Oct, 2021 | 11:10am

West Ham coach backed Alphonse Areola signing amid pursuit of West Brom star Sam Johnstone

West Brom can thank West Ham coach Xavi Valero for Sam Johnstone staying put at The Hawthorns this season.

The Athletic’s Roshane Thomas has shared some insight into the West Ham transfer discussions that led to the Hammers signing France international Alphonse Areola over Johnstone.

Writing on The Athletic, Thomas said: “When West Ham United were on the hunt for a goalkeeper, Xavi Valero put together a presentation that was so compelling David Moyes and his backroom staff were in agreement Alphonse Areola was the best option.

“The club failed in their attempts to sign West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, and Valero felt Areola was better suited to playing in the Premier League. During the presentation, West Ham’s goalkeeping coach highlighted Areola’s attributes, his one-year spell at Fulham and why the Frenchman and Lukasz Fabianski would be an ideal pairing.”

All worked out

Most West Brom fans wouldn’t have begrudged Johnstone a move back to the Premier League after a super 2020/21 personal campaign that ultimately ended in failure as Albion were relegated to the Championship.

His displays in the top-flight alerted rival managers and England boss Gareth Southgate, who named him in his squad for the European Championship where the 28-year-old ended up serving as the number two shot-stopper.

Often, players from relegated clubs look for moves back to the Premier League in order to preserve their national team spot.

However, staying at The Hawthorns may work out better for Johnstone.

It’s rare that goalkeepers are picked without playing for months, and that would have been the fear had he ended up at West Ham.

Areola has played just twice since signing on loan from PSG in July, with Lukasz Fabianski keeping his role for the most part.

Johnstone, meanwhile, is playing week-in, week-out for Albion, and Southgate has continued to pick him for England.

In other West Brom news, this Albion player has reacted to transfer speculation on Instagram.

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