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Palace struck gold on Sam Johnstone

Crystal Palace are going in the right direction under Frenchman Patrick Vieira, with a positive start to this season following an impressive 12th place finish in the Premier League last campaign.

The former Arsenal legend has managed to get the best out of this Palace squad while adding in some quality with the likes of Odsonne Edouard, and Joachim Anderson Cheick Doucoure over the previous couple of seasons to compliment a talented side.

It could turn out to be a player who was just signed on a free transfer this summer than might be Vieira’s best move yet as Palace boss.

Steve Parish struck gold over Sam Johnstone

Palace signed the 29-year-old goalkeeper on a free following the expiration of his contract at West Bromwich Albion, and it looks like it could be a very shrewd move indeed for the club.

Having started his career at Manchester United, rising through the academy ranks before having positive spells on loan at Doncaster Rovers and Preston North End, it wasn’t until a move to Aston Villa that the Englishman established himself properly.

His first full season at the Midlands club saw Johnstone play 45 Championship matches, keeping 20 clean sheets and saving three shots per game (77% success).

A permanent move to West Bromwich Albion followed and he eventually graduated to full England honours, keeping a clean sheet on his debut.

Despite Palace having Jack Butland and Vicente Guaita, the sides player of the season in 2020/2021, as options between the posts, Johnstone is certainly capable of becoming the long-term number one goalkeeper at the club.

CIES Football Observatory have currently valued Johnstone at €10m (£8.6m) and after chairman Steve Parish snapped him up for nothing, Palace could make a significant profit if he performs well and attracts subsequent interest as a homegrown shot-stopper with caps at international level.

Will Sam Johnstone become the Crystal Palace number 1?

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Yes

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The 29-year-old even received praise from an England legend last year, with Gary Lineker describing a save from Johnstone as “unbelievable” in a 1-1 draw against his former club Man United.

In his only appearance so far this season, the 6 foot 3 titan achieved a rating of 7.2 on SofaScore with his performance against Oxford in the League Cup. He kept a clean sheet and saved every shot he faced and Vieira will surely give him some matches in the Premier League in the near future.




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