Championship club West Brom have confirmed West Ham transfer target Sam Johnstone has been released as a free agent.

West Ham have long been linked with a move for the England goalkeeper (Sky Sports).

Speculation was rife last summer that West Ham were close to signing Johnstone in a £10m deal from the Baggies.

West Bromwich Albion v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship
Photo by Malcolm Couzens – WBA/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images

But West Ham goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero persuaded David Moyes to move for Alphonse Areola instead with the help of a powerpoint presentation.

Areola has impressed on loan from PSG but his future remains unclear.

West Ham have also been linked with relegated Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope (The Sun).

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Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Links to Johnstone and Pope tally with a recent claim from West Ham legend Tony Cottee who reportedly let slip to a betting website that Hammers boss Moyes has done a deal to sign an English goalkeeper that will be announced soon (West Ham Zone).

That claim – widely believed to be either Johnstone or Pope – was denied by West Ham insiders Claret and Hugh earlier this month.

Areola’s big wages are said to be a potential problem for West Ham while Burnley reportedly value Pope at a whopping £40m!

West Ham United v Burnley - Premier League
Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

So there may yet be a twist after Johnstone’s club confirmed the West Ham transfer target has been released as free agent.

“167 appearances, 44 clean sheets,” West Brom posted on Twitter about Johnstone leaving the club following the expiration of his contract.

“Thank you for your efforts during your time at The Hawthorns, Sam Johnstone.”

Moyes is facing a big rebuild at West Ham this summer with at least six or seven players required.

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Photo by SCOTT HEPPELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

So saving money by bringing in Johnstone may well be tempting for the Scot.

The Hammers have already missed out to Aston Villa for the free signing of brilliant young French midfielder Boubacar Kamara.

It remains to be seen whether Johnstone comes back into Moyes’s thinking.

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