18 July 2024

Report: West Ham now expect to sell Ben Johnson as well as Thilo Kehrer and  Declan Rice - Hammers News

Southampton missed out on the chance to sign Ben Johnson this summer because Premier League outfit West Ham United wanted a ‘high loan fee’ for the England U21 defender. 

And this feels like a bit of a shame, really.

Left on the bench for West Ham United’s first three Premier League games and out of the squad entirely for the fourth – Friday’s 2-1 win at Luton Town – a player who burst onto the scene during the COVID lockdown feels further down the pecking order now than he did when he was a far less experienced player.

A short-term spell at Southampton, meanwhile, would have offered Ben Johnson the sort of regular first-team minutes which no longer appear to be on the table at West Ham, while handing the 23-year-old the chance to improve his on-the-ball-work under the possession-obsessed Russell Martin.

Talks between the two clubs collapsed, however; Southampton ‘reluctant’ to meet West Ham’s demands of a rather lofty loan fee (The Athletic).

As such, Johnson may be forced to wait until the winter for a solution to a situation which does no one much good.

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Southampton miss out on West Ham ace Ben Johnson

The London-born defender is currently due to become a free-agent in 2024. And unless he reneges on a decision to turn down a new contract at the London Stadium, West Ham may have no choice but to prioritise permanent offers during the January window.

“Well, I don’t want Ben to go,” Moyes told Sky Sports in August. “But we offered Ben a contract maybe a year and a half ago or so and we’ve not been able to get to any point of agreement on it.

“But he’s a great boy. I really like him. I really hope he stays. He came through the youth system at West Ham, and we certainly wouldn’t want to lose him if we can help it. But football’s got another side to it, you know contracts etc and making sure people are looked after.

“I had a good conversation with Ben at the end of last season about it and we really do want him to stay.”

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