Legend hinted Sam Johnstone could join West Ham but now he is set to sign for London rivals Crystal Palace.

Championship club West Brom confirmed West Ham transfer target Johnstone had been released as a free agent this week.

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.

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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).

inks 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).

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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!

So links to Johnstone – particularly after he was confirmed as a free agent – started to look a more feasible move.

But now England international Hammers legend Cottee hinted could join West Ham now looks set to sign for London rivals Crystal Palace.

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Legend hinted Sam Johnstone could join West Ham but now he is set to sign for London rivals Crystal Palace

And according to BBC Sport, West Ham were very much interested but have been beaten to his signature by Palace.

“England goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is close to joining Crystal Palace,” BBC Sport reports.

“A number of clubs have been interested in the 29-year-old, with West Ham particularly keen last season.

“However, it is understood Palace are now at the head of the queue, with Johnstone set to become Patrick Vieira’s first signing of the summer.”

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Johnstone’s move to Palace will now push West Ham to make a decision over Areola and Pope.

Fulham have been linked with both goalkeepers too. So Moyes cannot afford to drag his heels as it would be disastrous if the Hammers did not sign one of those two top drawer stoppers.

Especially given Burnley’s relegation – which will undoubtedly mean they are forced to accept a more reasonable fee for Pope – and the fact Moyes already has Areola in the building.


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