Manchester United had faced competition from Tottenham for a new goalkeeper as both look for backups to their respective first-choice stoppers, but Spurs may end up looking elsewhere
Erik ten Hag may have a free run at one of the club’s main goalkeeper targets, with Tottenham Hotspur looking elsewhere after earlier links with Sam Johnstone.
Johnstone, who began his career at Old Trafford, is available on a free transfer after the expiry of his West Bromwich Albion contract. Spurs had looked set to go toe-to-toe with United for the England international, who was dropped by Baggies boss Steve Bruce in April and didn’t feature for the rest of the Championship season.
Spurs are after a homegrown keeper, with on-loan Pierluigi Gollini not expected to remain at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium beyond this season, while United backup Dean Henderson remains the subject of Premier League interest. However, rather than adding Johnstone to their ranks, the London club look to have their sights set on Southampton keeper Fraser Forster.
Forster, like Johnstone, is out of contract at the end of the season. According to The Athletic, Southampton are prepared to let the former Celtic goalkeeper move on, and Spurs have made the veteran a target ahead of the new campaign.
The 34-year-old has played more Saints games this season than in any campaign since 2016-17. He came into the team in December after an injury to Alex McCarthy, and has kept his spot ahead of former Chelsea man Willy Caballero.
Despite Forster’s recall, the England international has been allowed to run down his contract. “Absolutely, there are a lot of arguments for [extending his stay at St Mary’s] and I am sure that we find with him a very good solution for the future,” Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said in April (per Hampshire Live ).
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“I’ve had a word with Sam,” Bruce said upon deciding to leave the 29-year-old out of his team. “Sam looks as if he’s decided to let his contract run down and that is his prerogative. We haven’t been able to get him a deal, so I’ll have a look at [David] Button and see how he does.
“With five games left, it’s only right that David plays. We’ve chopped and changed a little bit. That is pretty normal.
“What will make the headlines will be the goalkeeping situation. Sam’s been a great servant to this club but we have to accept that he’s decided not to sign his contract and we wish him the best of luck.”
Johnstone was part of the Man Utd squad which won the FA Youth Cup in 2011, alongside the likes of Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba. However, despite being named on the bench for Champions League and Europa League matches, he never made a senior appearance for the Red Devils.
If Spurs’ move for Forster leaves United with a clear run at Johnstone, it will allow new manager Erik ten Hag to get a deal over the line early as he prepares for what’s likely to be a busy summer. Henderson could still end up moving on, with Newcastle United in the mix, while Ten Hag’s side have been linked with plenty of outfield targets.
As many as 10 players could make way as the Dutch boss assesses his squad, while there have been reports of interest in players at his former club Ajax. Nemanja Matic has already confirmed his plans to move on, with a number of others to follow suit, while Dutch defender Jurrien Timber is among the members of the current Ajax group linked with a move to Old Trafford.