TIME TO TALK: Baggies to discuss new contract with Sam Johnstone
PA - Bradley Collyer
West Brom will ramp up contract talks with Sam Johnstone in January to convince the England international to stay.
The goalkeeper’s deal expires at the end of the season and he is reportedly attracting interest from Southampton, West Ham and Tottenham.
Albion are third in the Sky Bet Championship, nine points behind leaders Bournemouth, ahead of Wednesday’s visit of Hull.
Boss Valerien Ismael said: “From January we will start to go more intensively in the discussion but at the moment we’re all focused on the pitch, on the performances.
“We know what we have to do to give ourselves a good position for the negotiation with him.
“It’s a patient game now, like a chess game. He wants to see. For sure, we want to extend and, at the minute, I’m not worried, it’s a normal process.
“When your contract is up you have the choice and I completely understand the situation. My job is to make sure that West Brom is in a great position and that West Brom is the right club for him.
“I have spoken frequently with him, not only about the contract situation but also about the national team, about games, build-up, and how we can improve.”
The 28-year-old has made 145 appearances for the Baggies since a £6.5million move from Manchester United in 2018.
He is expected to be included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad to face Albania and San Marino this month having played in October’s 5-0 win in San Marino and the 4-0 victory against Andorra in September.
Johnstone has three caps for the Three Lions after making his debut against Romania in June and was part of the Euro 2020 squad which lost the final on penalties to Italy.
“Sam has the quality to play. I think it’s clear he’s part of the plan for the national team and it’s a great feeling for us and for him,” added Ismael.
“I’m very delighted about that, that it doesn’t count if you’re a Premier League or Championship player, it’s all about the quality.
“It’s the reward for his performance at that level. “
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