Noel Whelan has claimed that West Brom could reject any approaches in January for Tottenham target Sam Johnstone, in order to focus on their bid for promotion.
The 28-year-old’s contract with the Baggies is set to expire in the summer, which may have put the North London club on red alert to possibly sign the goalkeeper.
It was recently reported that Tottenham sent a scout to watch Johnstone in action for West Brom against Preston North End, ahead of a potential move for the shot-stopper.
Spurs also have a contract situation with a goalkeeper of their own, with Hugo Lloris’ deal with the club set to run out in the summer.
While Nuno Espirito Santo’s side continue to monitor Johnstone’s situation in the Midlands, former Leeds United striker Whelan believes West Brom may be willing to risk losing him for free in the summer so they can focus on securing promotion back to the Premier League.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan said: “You’ve got to look at West Brom’s predicament. They’re sitting at the top, they’re looking to get promoted back to the Premier League. He’s a big part of that.
“Can you afford to lose a player like that or sell a player like that in January when you’re so close to maybe getting back to the Premier League? I’m not so sure.
“They might be better off keeping him until the end of the season. Making sure you’ve got a quality international goalkeeper in between your sticks.
“It could be that the fine line of you’re getting promoted or not. It’s a double-edged sword, risk and reward.
“You’ve got to take that chance to keep as many international players in that team as possible.”
Valerien Ismael’s side currently sit towards the top of the Championship table, with a respectable 22 points from 11 games.
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The pursuit of Johnstone is strange with Lloris still around at the club, unless they see him as a replacement for the Frenchman.
If West Brom are remaining firm to keep him for the whole season, it could be one to keep an eye on in the summer transfer window, where a snip could be picked up.
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