Aston Villa plot free transfer move for West Ham's sought-after full-back

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

Ben Johnson, the 24-year-old West Ham defender, finds himself at the centre of a heated transfer battle as his contract with the Hammers approaches its conclusion. This has been reported by HITC's Graeme Bailey.

The versatile full-back, who has made 107 appearances for West Ham since his debut in 2019, has attracted interest from several clubs across Europe, all eager to secure his signature.

Aston Villa, currently in the hunt for a top-four finish and a coveted Champions League spot next season, have emerged as one of the leading contenders to sign Johnson. The allure of playing in Europe's elite club competition could be a significant factor in the young defender's decision, especially considering his reported rejection of multiple contract extension offers from West Ham.

However, Aston Villa face stiff competition from their Premier League rivals, with Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Everton also expressing interest in the defender as they aim to strengthen their squads for the upcoming season. Johnson's versatility, work ethic, and potential have caught the attention of these clubs, making him a highly sought-after target.

The interest in Johnson extends beyond the borders of England, with teams from Italy, France, and Germany also keen on acquiring his services. A move abroad could present an exciting new challenge for the 24-year-old, who may be tempted by the opportunity to showcase his skills on the European stage.

For West Ham, losing Johnson would be a significant blow, as they would need to find a replacement of similar quality who is willing to accept a back-up role. This season, Johnson has been restricted to just four Premier League starts under manager David Moyes, often overshadowed by Vladimir Coufal in the pecking order.

Despite his limited playing time, Johnson's talent and potential have not gone unnoticed. The defender, who is capable of playing on both the right and left, was named West Ham's Young Player of the Year in 2021 and 2022, highlighting his impressive performances and growth as a player.

Johnson's professionalism and attitude have also earned praise from former West Ham coach Stuart Pearce, who commended the young defender's consistently positive demeanour and eagerness to learn and improve his game.

As the summer transfer window looms, Ben Johnson's future hangs in the balance. With Aston Villa, Tottenham, Wolves, and Everton all vying for his signature, the young defender faces a crucial decision that could shape the course of his career.

Regardless of where he ends up, Ben Johnson's talent and potential make him one of the most promising young defenders in English football.