By Olly Allen

30th Nov, 2021 | 12:10pm

Sam Johnstone's West Brom contract talks stall amid transfer speculation

West Brom have halted contract talks with goalkeeper Sam Johnstone as the club look to arrest their poor run of form.

The England international has been linked with a move to both Tottenham Hotspur [Daily Mail] and Newcastle United [Calciomercato] in recent weeks.

Johnstone’s current deal at the Hawthorns expires at the end of the season, leaving his Albion future up in the air.

When asked if there was an update on the 28-year-old’s contract talks, Valerien Ismael said [via Express & Star]:

“There’s nothing. We’re all focused at the minute to get back on the winning way, and we’re all focused and working very hard to get what we want.”

The Baggies manager added how Johnstone remains fully focused amid the transfer speculation.

“He is completely committed to the team and to the club,” Ismael said.

“He’s a very important player for us. A great guy, very focused, he plays at a high level. He’s very professional and has a desire to be successful.

“For Sam, it’s about more than running down a contract, it’s more about being able to play at that level for next year, to be a part of that squad who goes to the World Cup.

“Our part is to help him stay on that level and for sure to play at the highest level we can, for that we need to put in the effort.”

Exit likely

The longer West Brom’s struggles continue, the more likely it seems that Johnstone will leave the Hawthorns either in January or next summer.

The Baggies have picked up just one win from their last six matches, but the goalkeeper has arguably done his job, keeping three clean sheets in that run.

It was a surprise not to see Johnstone leave the club after relegation from the Premier League and he will surely not want to spend more than a year in the second tier.

As Ismael says, the 2022 World Cup is on the horizon and Johnstone will be eager to be included in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad.

At the moment he is probably competing with Nick Pope to be third-choice goalkeeper behind Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale.

Playing in the Premier League would significantly boost Johnstone’s chances of winning that battle, so either West Brom need to turn their form around quickly or he will be out of the door.

In other West Brom news, Chris Lepkowski has shared how close he thinks Valerien Ismael is to being sacked.

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