West Bromwich Albion are vying to keep goalkeeper Sam Johnstone at the club, manager Valerien Ismael has confirmed.
Johnstone watched on from the bench as David Button started in Albion’s 2-2 draw against Bournemouth on Friday evening to open the new EFL season.
The goalkeeper, who was part of the England squad at Euro 2020, only returned from holiday last week, which was the given reason for his place on the bench.
West Brom Trying to Retain Sam Johnstone
Interest From the Premier League
Despite West Brom’s relegation from the Premier League last season, Johnstone caught the eye of a number of clubs as well as England manager Gareth Southgate.
However, Ismael is determined to keep Johnstone at the club this season as the Baggies aim to bounce right back to the top flight.
When asked by Sky Sports how important it was to retain Sam Johnstone, he said: “It’s very important. We know what we have with him. We know the situation. We spoke with him clearly. We have one more week now to work with him on the principal and everything.
“At the minute we are delighted with our squad. We extended some contracts of very important players for us. We are in a new process now and every point we can get will cement our new way.”
Parker Also Hopeful of Bournemouth Deals
With the transfer window still having a few weeks left to run, Ismael’s opposite number from tonight, Scott Parker, is also keen to make additions to his squad.
Bournemouth had ten academy products in their squad tonight and looked particularly thin on the bench, with injuries and suspensions affecting their squad.
Arnaut Danjuma was one of the key absentees. Parker put this down to injury, but the Dutchman has also been linked with a move away.
On potential additions, Parker said: “We understand that we definitely need to bring some players in just to strengthen us a little bit. There are people in this place trying relentlessly to do that.”
Both Teams Put on a Show to Open Season
This was the first game of the regular EFL season, with Bournemouth having also kicked off the season fully last weekend with their 5-0 Carabao Cup win against MK Dons.
Their opposition at the Vitality tonight though was a team that is expected to be battling it out for an automatic promotion spot alongside the Cherries this season.
It was an enthraling game from start to finish and one that really laid down a marker for what is to come in this campaign.
Bournemouth opened the scoring after 12 minutes when Emiliano Marcondes, who broke his new side’s hearts last season as part of the Brentford team that beat them in the play-offs, swept home from Jaidon Anthony’s cut-back.
West Brom improved from then on, though, and deservedly equalised when Dara O’Shea headed home Conor Townsend’s cross.
The Baggies had the ball in the net again minutes later but Callum Robinson’s effort was ruled out for a foul on home keeper Mark Travers.
After the break it was Bournemouth who went in front again as Philip Billing side-footed home from David Button’s parry.
Robinson was not to be denied a goal, though, and finished off a brilliant West Brom move by powering an effort past Travers on the half-volley.