By George Overhill

25th May, 2022 | 8:40am

West Brom keeper Sam Johnstone in heartfelt goodbye as he leaves club

Sam Johnstone has posted a heartfelt goodbye to West Brom as he leaves the club after four years as their starting goalkeeper.

The 29-year-old has left Albion at the expiration of his contract, having made 167 first-team appearances and kept 44 clean sheets.

He is expected to sign for a club in the Premier League after the Baggies’ bid for promotion fell apart this season.

In response to the club posting a message on their official Twitter account thanking him on the way out, Johnstone posted on his own account: “Thank you everyone at WBA for the last 4 years. Met some great people, made some great memory’s, and you helped me achieve my dream of playing in the premier league and for England.

“All the best for the future”.

Left behind

Johnstone has arguably been the stand out player at the Hawthorns over the last four years, as evidenced by his inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s England set up.

He may seem like he is fleeing a sinking ship, but at his age it is the prime opportunity to sign potentially his last big deal.

Players running down contracts to keep the power in their hands over their future is becoming ever more common, and if they back themselves to shoulder the injury risk while doing so they are well within their rights.

Had what was supposed to be an assault on an immediate return to the top flight not disintegrated following a fast start he may have remained with the club.

But he clearly believes he is a Premier League calibre player, and after spending three years in second tier with the Baggies it is logical from his point of view to take the opportunity of avoiding a fourth and signing elsewhere.

There is a major rebuild underway this summer under Steve Bruce, and how that materialises on the pitch next year will determine how far away the club are from joining Johnstone back in the top flight.

After a fall-out with previous manager Valerien Ismael and a clear intent to leave fans may not view their former number one as fondly as they once did, but his exit is ultimately little surprise.

In other West Brom news, the Baggies will have a chance to sway a highly sought after free agent with the player due to speak to all interested parties.

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