Manchester United have re-called Sam Johnstone from his loan spell at Preston North End and rejected advances from the Championship club to take him back on loan or to sign him on a permanent deal.
The 22-year-old goalkeeper had been enjoying a solid loan spell at Preston and was firmly their first choice goalkeeper having played the full 90 minutes in all four of their games so far in January.
Despite that, Preston boss Simon Grayson said United flat-out refused to let Johnstone leave again on loan.
“We got told on Thursday night by Manchester United that there was no way we could do anything with Sam in terms of a loan signing,” Grayson said.
“We tried to buy him but they said no to that, too.
“We had to protect ourselves as a club to make sure we had another goalkeeping option. It is a shame that Sam is going back, he is a fantastic keeper who we would love to have at the club.
“We did as much as we did to try and secure him but United are in the position of not wanting to let him go.”
This is a wholly strange situation in every sense of the word. Why would United thwart Johnstone’s career by re-calling him to the club when he was playing so regularly for Preston? Anders Lindegaard’s arrival was only as a consequence of their decision to bring Johnstone back, so he had nobody in his way until then.
Now, Johnstone is either going to play for our U21s again or simply sit on the bench because there’s no way he is getting into the first-team with David de Gea in goal. All in all, Johnstone has every right to be frustrated with this situation because it doesn’t make sense for anybody involved.