West Brom transfer state of play - Goalkeeper exit, third signing

Josh Griffiths of West Bromwich Albion
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Josh Griffiths is all set to join League One outfit Bristol Rovers on a loan deal for the forthcoming season, BirminghamLive understands. Keeper Griffiths extended his Baggies contract at the end of last season which means his deal runs until 2027, but he'll embark on his fourth separate loan spell away from The Hawthorns in the new campaign.

Griffiths, who turns 23 in September, is highly rated indeed by Albion boss and former keeper Carlos Corberan, but his pathway to the starting XI has been blocked by fellow academy product Alex Palmer, who has equally been made to wait patiently for his chance in the years preceding, prior to his breakthrough in 2022.

The Hereford-born stopper played in all three cup games last season, including the 2-0 FA Cup defeat to bitter rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in January, and in total Griffiths has made 13 appearances for the Albion first-team since being handed his debut by Corberan in the winter of 2023, against Blackburn Rovers.

Prior to that, Griffiths had loan spells with Cheltenham Town, with which he won promotion from League Two in 2019/20, Lincoln City under former Albion coach Michael Appleton and then, most recently, he spent half a campaign at Portsmouth, who have this past season returned to the Championship themselves. Although Griffiths has as many as 126 first-team appearances at the age of 22, he was starved of action last term.

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The plan is for Griffiths to join the Gas for the forthcoming campaign, so that he can get another full season, at a good level, of senior football under his belt ahead of a return to The Hawthorns in summer 2025, with still two more years remaining on his contract. The lie of the land will be assessed once more at that stage, but clearly the young keeper needs minutes in the interim as a priority.

In the meantime, with Palmer very much established as the club's first choice goalkeeper and with Ted Cann having agreed terms this summer to remain as the third choice, Albion are set to complete the signing of experienced stopper Joe Wildsmith on a free transfer after he left promoted Derby County at the end of last campaign. Wildsmith, 28, helped the Rams to a second placed finish in League One and claimed the division's golden glove award.

"After arriving from Sheffield Wednesday, Wildsmith quickly established himself as the club's number one and became a pivotal figure during the two years he was at the club," Leigh Curtis, Derby County writer for DerbyshireLive, told us. "He picked up the Golden Gloves award after Derby amassed 20 clean sheets and there had been talk in the background at the start of last season about the potential of him signing a new contract.

"Negotiations started but by October they couldn't reach an agreement and in the end as the season progressed, Derby decided to move on which culminated in his departure, but he left Derby as a promotion winner and nobody will ever forget the save he made against Bolton in a game back in March. He made a point-blank save with the score at 0-0 before Derby went on to win the game 1-0.

"He said that save was the best of his career and that game was widely regarded as a turning point. Another save that springs to mind was a game against Exeter in the season before last when he pulled off a Gordon Banks style save at another key time in the game which Derby went on to win. I got to know Joe during his time at Derby. He's got a young family and he's a really good lad. I am sure he will push Alex Palmer all the way for that number one jersey."

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