Nottingham Forest forward Brennan Johnson has revealed that he turned down a move to the Premier League during the January transfer window earlier this year as he ‘saw something special’ in his team-mates.
The 20-year-old had an incredible 2021-22 season with the Reds, in what was his first year as a senior player for his boyhood club following a loan spell with Lincoln City in League One the season prior.
Having netted 18 goals and also notched 10 assists in the second tier, Johnson was a key part in Forest’s side that won promotion at Wembley nearly two weeks ago, defeating Huddersfield Town in the Championship play-off final to secure the Tricky Trees’ spot in the top flight for the first time in 23 years.
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It could have been a different story though in January had Forest cashed in on the young Wales international, as a plethora of clubs circled around the speedster.
At least one club made concrete offers for Johnson – that team being Brentford – with their final £18 million bid being turned down by the Forest hierarchy.
Whilst there were offers for his services months ago, Johnson has insisted that the final decision was with him and explained why he stuck by Forest.
“For me it’s always just about playing regularly and getting loads of football because you learn more like that,” Johnson said to Sgorio – via NottinghamshireLive.
“In January there were a few options for me to leave, but I did see something special in the team as well.
“I’m not saying I called us going up, but I did think we had a good chance of getting in the play-offs and I knew anything could happen from there.
“It’s so good that it’s worked out like that.”
If Johnson had left Forest in January, then their season could have panned out totally differently.
With no progress made at that time on a new contract for the 20-year-old, it was realistic to think that Johnson may be cashed in on, but thankfully for Reds supporters it never happened.
Now they are a Premier League club, Forest will be more hopeful of keeping Johnson around for the long-term, with a fresh deal surely about to be put on the table for him.
Forest gambled when not accepting major offers for their prized possession midway through the season, and they’ve reaped the full rewards of their decision.