Nott’m Forest lock star down, but Man City, Aston Villa interest could prevail if they’re relegated

Brennan Johnson, Morgan Gibbs-White, Nottingham Forest, January 2023

Nottingham Forest will reportedly refuse offers for Brennan Johnson, but relegation could play a factor in his future, amid interest from Manchester City and Aston Villa.

Johnson has been an influential asset for Forest for the past few seasons. He was given the opportunity to impress at League One side Lincoln City in 2020/21 – scoring 10 goals.

Upon his return to Forest, he set the Championship alight. Indeed, during his first proper season in the second tier, the forward notched 16 goals and provided nine assists.

He followed that up with two goals in the Championship playoffs, as Forest were promoted to the Premier League. Johnson was rewarded with a new deal from the Midlanders ahead of his first top-flight season.

That show of faith, along with Steve Cooper’s decision to play him often, has paid dividends. Amid a somewhat tough campaign for Forest, Johnson has been a shining light.

He’s played in every single one of their league games so far – starting all but three of those – and is the club’s top scorer, with eight league goals, alongside three assists.

Were it not for the 21-year-old’s form, Forest might have already been down.

As things stand, they’re three points above the drop zone in 16th place, following a 4-2 win against Southampton last time out.

Forest to refuse offers for Brennan Johnson

Forest seem to have identified the fact Johnson is a vital member of their side, and any successes in the near future hinge on him remaining with them.

Indeed, Football Transfers reports Forest ‘will refuse offers’ for him this summer, with the caveat ‘if they stay up’.

That’s amid interest from a ‘number of Premier League sides’.

That includes: Manchester City, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Arsenal.

A move to any of those sides would certainly be lucrative, but given how impactful Johnson has been for Forest on their return to the Premier League, it makes sense why they wouldn’t want to let him go.

Relegation could complicate matters

The report suggests relegation ‘could change matters’. Indeed, a number of clubs have seen what Johnson can bring to a Premier League side, and it seems unlikely he’d drop back down.

Forest have surely identified that and are aware they might be forced to sell if they drop out of the league.

The financial renumeration they could receive from that transfer would also likely be too much to turn down, especially considering the sides who are linked with him.

Forest don’t have the easiest run until the end of the season. They play Chelsea – who got back to winning ways last time out – as well as title-battling Arsenal and then Crystal Palace.

There might not be many points coming from those games. As such, with the three-point buffer they’ve got from drop zone, they’ll hope two of the sides below them aren’t able to reach their points total.

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