Crystal PalaceSport

Crystal Palace close to deal for West Brom free agent Sam Johnstone

Crystal Palace are close to agreeing a deal for West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.

The 29-year-old is a free agent at the end of June and the Eagles want to make the England international one of their summer additions.

Johnstone’s arrival would cast doubt on the future of Jack Butland.

Number one Vicente Guaita is set to remain in SE25 but Palace view Johnstone as a strong long-term successor to the Spaniard.

And that would mean that Butland, signed on a three-year deal from Stoke City in October 2020, could effectively be third choice.

Crystal Palace v Chelsea, Premier League, Selhurst Park, 19 February 2022   Picture: Keith Gillard

The Bristolian, 29, made 15 appearances for the Eagles last season, playing every minute of their FA Cup run as well as nine outings in the Premier League.

If Palace pick up Johnstone it will represent a shrewd piece of business.

He reportedly cost an initial £6.5million when he signed for the Baggies in July 2018 from Manchester United.

Johnstone was named West Brom’s Players’ Player of the Year in the 2020-21 season. He played 167 matches for the Baggies.

The Preston-born keeper has been capped by England at U16, U17, U19 and U20 level.

He made his full debut for the Three Lions in June 2020, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Romania.

Tottenham were also keen on Johnstone but have instead pressed ahead with a move for Southampton’s Fraser Forster, who is also in the final weeks of his contract.

West Brom turned down a £10m bid from West Ham last summer.

“Met some great people, made some great memoriess and you helped me achieve my dream of playing in the Premier League and for England,” Johnstone tweeted recently in response to a Baggies tweet about his departure.

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