In pictures: Arsenal beaten in friendly by Hibs
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Arsenal could be looking to infuriate their north London rivals Tottenham by attempting a swoop for one of their main transfer targets this summer. West Brom’s goalkeeper Sam Johnstone appears to be wanted by several clubs this summer transfer window.
A product of Manchester United’s academy, Johnstone has impressed for the West Midlands club since joining in 2018.
According to The Athletic, West Ham have already had a bid rejected by the Baggies who look to Johnstone as a potential successor to number one Lukasz Fabianski.
They also claim that their offer was rejected on Wednesday, as it fell considerably below their valuation of £10million.
With the Hammers now looking at Alphonse Areola as an alternative, this could give other sides a chance to work their way in.
Both north London clubs will be looking to steal Johnstone’s signature, who could be a valued addition to both sides.
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Arsenal are looking for a goalkeeper to push and challenge number one stopper Bernd Leno and could well look to Johnstone as that man.
Tottenham meanwhile see Johnstone as a possible replacement for Hugo Lloris next summer.
The England international, 28, was seriously impressive last season, and reaped the rewards.
He won West Brom’s Supporter’s Player of the Year, Player’s Player of the Year and was named the PFA Community Champion Award for his work off the field.
Producing memorable saves against Liverpool, Manchester City and former club United to secure draws against all three English giants, he certainly proved he can perform under pressure at the top level.
Arsenal are understood to be looking at Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale as another top target to challenge Leno next season.
However, if they move for Johnstone, who becomes a free agent next summer, they could scupper Spurs’ plans and anger their main rivals.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta will want to bring in some talent this window and if that talent is also wanted by Spurs then he’ll surely see that as a bonus.
Yet the Spaniard may not want to make a bid yet with it unclear what is happening with Leno, and Johnstone will surely see himself as a No 1 rather than as a contender for the gloves if the German sticks around.
Johnstone was called up to the 26-man shortlist for England’s Euro 2020 squad, behind Jordan Pickford and Dean Henderson.
This arguably makes him the third best English keeper in the league, which is high praise considering, and his performances last term justified such standing.
The experience he will have picked up during England’s thrilling run at the Euros will have been hugely beneficial to his development.
Arsenal could have a cheap, reliable and experienced keeper here, and by moving for him would throw Spurs’ plans into disarray, which is something that Arteta would relish.
But for now Spurs have an advantage as the Gunners continue to mull over their possible long-term options between the sticks.
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