Burnley and Brentford have reportedly joined Leeds in the chase to sign highly-rated Nottingham Forest and Wales attacking midfielder Brennan Johnson.
The 19-year-old has been an everpresent while on loan at high-flying League One side Lincoln City this season. His eyecatching performances have caught the attention of a number of top clubs, along with the Wales national team selectors.
Johnson already has two senior caps to his name and made his Wales debut against the USA back in November.
The same source claimed back in January that Leeds wanted the player. To that end, it’s fair to suggest that Marcelo Bielsa’s men are still keen.
Forest boss Chris Hughton is expected to give Johnson a chance to prove himself in the first season next season.
He said recently, when asked if Johnson can make a name for himself at the City Ground: “I hope so. He is an offensive player, he is our player and he has done what we have asked him to.
“There are no guarantees that he will do it at the next level up. But he has put himself in a really good position. In any conversation that I have with him, the message would be that he could not have done any more than he has.
“The attractiveness with Brennan is mainly that he is a young player who is doing really well. That bodes very well for the club, at a time when there is an emphasis very much on young players and the academy.
“Is he an exciting prospect? Yes. Is he a player who is in our thoughts? Yes.”
Johnson has contributed 12 goals and added a further 13 assists for Lincoln this term and is already being valued at around £10million.
Koch told to toughen up
Marcelo Bielsa feels Robin Koch needs to ‘toughen up’ amid reports the Leeds boss is concerned the German does not have what it takes to become a success in the Premier League.
Koch, 24, joined Leeds in a £12.9m deal from Freiburg last August as United prepared for their Premier League return. Koch had played every minute of the Whites’ Premier League campaign until injury struck on December 5. He was forced to limp out of the 3-1 loss at Chelsea with a meniscus problem after just nine minutes.
Having returned to fitness, Koch has made three brief appearances off the bench. However, he now appears to be down the pecking order under Bielsa.
Fellow summer signing Diego Llorente, who has overcome fitness issues of his own, is now first choice. His preferred partner is club captain Liam Cooper, with Pascal Struijk proving a more than useful deputy.
Now, according to Football Insider, Koch is very much fourth choice at Leeds. Quoting a ‘Leeds source‘ they state Bielsa regards Koch as a fine player. However, there’s a sense at Thorp Arch he is “too soft” to thrive in the Premier League.
It is said he “doesn’t like the aerial challenges” and this weakness is considered a major issue by their coaching staff.
They use the argument to state that was the reason why Koch wasn’t overlooked for the less-experienced Struijk on Monday. With captain Cooper suspended after his red card at Manchester City, Struijk was given the nod to partner Llorente against Liverpool.