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West Brom boss gives lowdown on Sam Johnstone future and aims sly dig at Pereira?

West Brom manager Valerien Ismael has given an update on Sam Johnstone’s future at the club.

Johnstone, 28, has recently returned to training with West Brom following his involvements with England at Euro 2020.

The shot-stopper has been linked with a move away this summer with the likes of Spurs, West Ham and even Arsenal having been linked.

Ismael previously said that he expected Johnstone to be on the move this summer but speaking to Birmingham Live, the former Barnsley boss believes that Johnstone is ‘happy to be back’ at the club and has hinted that the England international could now remain at The Hawthorns for the 2021/22 season:

“He came back early from his holiday – which is a sign. I have spoken with him and the feeling is that Sam is happy to be back, for sure.

“We know the situation with him, but he’s given – completely – another feeling. You can see he is a big professional. He has a big focus, for sure he will need time to train to come back to his level, but after the Bournemouth game I think we will have one more possibility with Sam.

“It was never the case that we said he doesn’t have the right attitude, he has no future here. His expectation was that he would leave. My expectation, I was told it was likely he would leave, but now it’s a new situation.”

Whilst Johnstone is impressing Ismael, one player certainly isn’t – Matheus Pereira.

The Brazilian has also been linked with a move away and West Ham are the team being most closely linked with the 25-year-old.

Ismael previously hit out at Pereira, saying that he wasn’t committed to the club before Pereira hit back on social media. The Baggies boss has now had his say on Johnstone’s ‘commitment’ to the club, in what could be deemed to be a potentially sly dig at Pereira:

“I think when you come back early from holidays, he could have taken one week more, but he came back earlier to work, to be with the team and to be part of the process,” Ismael continued.

“We know something could still happen, but you can see in training he is committed to the squad, you see it in his attitude, his positivity.”

Johnstone is a key player for West Brom but he’s now in the final year of his contract at The Hawthorns and so his situation takes on a little more importance.

Ismael won’t want to see him leave on a free but should he depart this month then David Button will be his no.1 until January,  unless a replacement can be brought in immediately.

West Brom kick-off their campaign with a trip to Bournemouth on Friday evening.

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