West Ham full-back Ben Johnson is on Arsenal’s radar as questions arise over his future at the club.
Writing on Patreon on 29 June, ExWHUemployee suggested that both Arsenal and Everton have interest in the 23-year-old, who made 17 Premier League appearances for the Hammers last season, with Mikel Arteta’s side potentially looking to seal Johnson’s signature as a backup player in his squad.
Reportedly, the defender is refusing to sign a new deal in east London while the club themselves are refusing to pay the Englishman regular starters wages, but any fee made from Johnson will be allocated to their growing transfer budget.
One club man no more?
Johnson began his career at West Ham, joining the youth academy back in 2007. He worked his way up the ranks and into the senior team, but now the club may consider selling him.
It has been reported that the club were expecting to sell the 23-year-old this summer [The Guardian], but now two Premier League sides could be vying for his services.
A surprised interested party is Premier League runner-ups Arsenal, who after all but securing the services of Hammers captain Declan Rice [Fabrizio Romano] could now be looking to sure-up their defence.
It would seem unlikely that Johnson would get regular action for Arsenal’s first team due to the quality of the Gunner’s options, but a rotation role could suit him should he join.
Perhaps a smarter move for the player would be a trip further north to Merseyside. Johnson would be much more likely to get game time under Sean Dyche as they look to drastically improve from last season’s 17th place finish.
Johnson’s versatility could also come in handy at either club he joins, but especially Everton who have lost loanee Conor Coady [The Athletic] while Mason Holgate could be on his way to Sheffield United [Liverpool Echo].
Having played at both centre-back and left back for the Irons, Johnson could be a nice squad player for Everton or Arsenal to fill in for any injured players.
While a potential fee has not been revealed, any additional budget will just be more ammunition for West Ham to have a productive and potentially revolutionary window.
While West Ham fans would be sad to see a homegrown academy product leave on seemingly hostile terms, perhaps a new chapter in Johnson’s career is best for all parties.