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Man Utd battling Tottenham to sign England international with major exit to follow

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Tottenham and Man Utd will go head-to-head this summer with goalkeeper Sam Johnstone up for grabs, though his arrival at Old Trafford could spark a major exit, per a report.

The future of the three-cap England international looks destined to lay away from West Brom. The Baggies stopper, 29, will become a free agent in the summer. According to Sky Sports, Johnstone has ‘refused’ the offer of a new deal.

On his agenda is a return to the bright lights of the Premier League.

Johnstone excelled in the top flight in the 2020-21 season. Indeed, the goalkeeper scooped both the West Brom Supporters’ Player of the Year and West Brom Players’ Player of the Year awards.

That wasn’t enough to prevent their relegation, however, and the Baggies are not on course to win promotion at the first time of asking.

As such, a free agent deal for Sam Johnstone is on the cards, and Sky Sports put Man Utd and Tottenham in the mix.

The outlet report the pair will ‘battle it out’ for his signature. Southampton could also be a contender, though the lure of joining United or Spurs could prove tough to ignore.

Johnstone rose through Man Utd’s academy and was on the club’s books between 2011-18. It’s noted his return to Old Trafford could prompt a ‘significant shake-up’ between the sticks.

Sam Johnstone in, Dean Henderson out?

Dean Henderson is the current back-up to David de Gea, though he harbours strong desires of being a No 1.

With De Gea back to his best this year, Johnstone’s arrival could reportedly bring Henderson’s situation to a head.

The stopper is described as already ‘considering his options’ anyway, with a loan exit a distinct possibility.

Newcastle were linked with Henderson in January and would be more than capable of taking on his salary. If their interest isn’t renewed, it’s unlikely there’ll be a dearth of suitors anyway.

Johnstone’s availability on a free could be too good for Manchester United to turn down. Though they’ll first have to get past Tottenham.

Hugo Lloris penned a new two-year extension in January, though there will soon be room for a new back-up.

That spot is currently held by Pierluigi Gollini. However, the Atalanta loanee looks destined to return to Italy after failing to impress Antonio Conte. As such, his option to buy won’t be taken up.

Tottenham reportedly considered signing Johnstone early in January, though prioritised other positions instead. The twin arrivals of Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski have made instant impacts.

West Brom boss Steve Bruce admitted at the weekend that he fully expects Johnstone to leave this summer.

 

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Premier League  Gives Reason Why Jordan Ayew Was Not Sent Off Against Everton

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Jordan Ayew’s tackle on Anthony Gordon during Everton’s game against Crystal Palace was described as “reckless”, but was not believed to have warranted a red card through VAR.

The Blues found themselves 2-0 down at the break thanks to a header from Jean-Philippe Mateta and a strike from Ayew himself, just a couple of minutes after a hugely contentious challenge.

Right in front of the two dugouts, the Palace forward scythed down his opponent in what looked like a scissor motion.

Everton’s players were incensed and instantly surrounded referee Anthony Taylor. However, the official quickly had a yellow card in his hand and cautioned the Palace man.

The ECHO understands the decision was assessed by VAR Mike Dean, but it was decided that it did not meet the threshold for a red card. It was described as “reckless” which is classed as a yellow card offence.

This adds to a host of decisions that Everton have felt aggrieved by over the course of the season, including most recently a decision to not award Richarlison a penalty against Brentford shortly before Jarrad Branthwaite was handed a red card.

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Billy Sharp Headbutt Gets Nottingham Forest Fan Arrested

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A Nottingham Forest fan who headbutted Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp during a pitch invasion has been jailed for 24 weeks and been handed a 10-year football banning order, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said on Thursday.

Robert Biggs, 30, invaded the pitch after Forest won their Championship playoff semifinal against United and made a beeline for Sharp, who was standing by the touchline before he was knocked to the ground.

A 10-year football banning order is maximum length available to the courts.

The CPS authorised charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and Biggs pleaded guilty.

“This was an extremely serious and unprovoked assault with a professional footballer standing at the side of the pitch left requiring stitches,” Marianne Connally from the CPS said.

Billy Sharp: Fan arrested after 'headbutt assault' leaves Sheffield United  captain needing stitches

“Biggs has soured what should have been an incredible moment for the club and its fans. As a result of his actions, he won’t be able to enjoy seeing his club compete in the Premier League should Forest win the Championship playoff final.”

Sharp, who spent a season on loan at Forest, said he would not let one “scumbag” ruin his respect for the club’s fans.

“One mindless idiot ruined what was an unbelievable night of football,” Sharp wrote on Twitter.

Forest beat United on penalties to set up a Championship playoff final against Huddersfield Town at Wembley Stadium on May 29.

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