Leeds United chief Victor Orta has revealed that the club are long-term admirers of Nottingham Forest starlet Brennan Johnson.
The attacking midfielder has been in great form this season, notching 12 goals in 40 Championship matches. That includes a strike in Forest’s 3-1 victory over QPR before the international break.
Johnson, 20, is seeing his price tag sky rocket due to his impressive displays.
Last April, Forest were willing to sell for £10million. In January, Brentford bid £18m but by that point the Reds had no plans to let him go. As such, they pushed the offer back.
Johnson’s value will have risen further by the summer. It will cost a monumental fee to land the eight-cap Wales international later this year.
Plenty of Premier League clubs are queuing up to sign him. Leeds, Newcastle, Everton and Crystal Palace all admire his ability.
Elland Road could be a great destination for the playmaker, who can also operate on either wing.
Illan Meslier and Joe Gelhardt are examples of young players being given first-team opportunities at the club.
Victor Orta reveals aim of Leeds transfer policy
During an interview with Marca (via Sport Witness), director of football Orta spoke about Johnson as part of Leeds’ young recruitment policy.
“We have a project with the full support of the whole board and the CEO,” he said.
“I identified that we had to anticipate. We developed the ‘Anticipate Project Talent’ with my scouting group of English people, who are the best in England.
“We had to get to the player much earlier because if we waited for the player to debut, to have minutes in the Championship… Like Brennan Johnson now, he’s a new Welsh international, best young player in the English second division [and] is already at £20m.
“My model was to have got Brennan Johnson when he was 16, and we tried. But it wasn’t to be.
“It could have been [Sam] Greenwood, Gelhardt, Lewis Bate… We’ve paid between one and two million for these players, so we’ve got about 20 players.”
Orta could green light a summer raid for Johnson if Leeds sell Raphinha this summer. The Forest man wouldn’t be a direct replacement, although he could help to bring in some more attacking threat.
Raphinha’s transfer to Barcelona seems to be off, although he could move to Arsenal…