This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more
Interest continues to build in Nottingham Forest winger Brennan Johnson ahead of the forthcoming season.
The Wales international spent last season on loan at Lincoln City, scoring 13 goals to help the Imps reach the League One play-off final.
The 20-year-old is now back at Forest and eager to impress in pre-season, scoring in their 2-1 friendly win over Alfreton last weekend.
But according to the Athletic, the likes of Leicester, Leeds, Barnsley and Brentford are all showing an interest in Johnson.
And, it is claimed that Brentford have made a bid of £3.5million for the winger, but that is likely to fall short of Forest’s £8-10million valuation.
Here, we discuss whether that’s the right price tag for Johnson, as CEO Dane Murphy plans talks with him over a potential new deal…
I think it’s a fair valuation in today’s market to be honest.
Johnson is still only 20, and you would imagine that he’ll still have his best years ahead of him if the early stages of his career are anything to go by.
He really impressed me in his loan spell with Lincoln City last term, and played a key role in their route to the League One play-off final at Wembley.
Therefore, I wasn’t surprised to hear that he’s being eyed by a number of clubs this summer, as they look to add to their squads ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
Johnson is likely to feature in Chris Hughton’s plans for the Nottingham Forest first-team this term though, especially since Sammy Ameobi has departed the City Ground already this summer.
Forest will be eager to do everything they can to keep hold of Johnson, as he strikes me as the sort of player that could have an important role to play this season, as they look to challenge higher up the Championship standings.
Young English players are likely to be in demand, but they’re highly unlikely to come cheap at this level, so it’s good to see Forest sticking to their valuation of Johnson.
When he signed a new deal with Forest back in 2019, the length of this contract was undisclosed, so it’s hard to say whether it’s the right price tag or not.
However, his ten goals and 12 assists in League One really changed the game for Lincoln City last season as they reached the play-off final.
When you have someone who can make that sort of impact, they’re worth the £8-10m it takes to lure them away from their current club.
There will always be questions over whether he can translate this sort of form from the top tier to interested clubs like Brentford in the Premier League – but the Bees will need as many creative players as they can get if they want to prolong their stay in the top division and someone like Johnson could cause havoc out wide.
His ability to play in a more central position in midfield as well as out wide will also go on to increase this valuation.
It would be a gamble to spend that amount on him though, especially if you’re a Championship club, so it might be useful to see how he gets on first under Chris Hughton.
However, it’s a price tag that’s designed to fend off interest from other clubs so Forest have every right to value him at that total.
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Brennan Johnson is a player that Nottingham Forest rightly value very highly and that is exactly the right approach to be taking to the attacker’s situation. The 20-year-old underlined his potential with an excellent campaign out on loan with Lincoln City last term and he should now be starting to be a major player for the Reds in the Championship next season.
Forest have already seen a number of their most talented academy prospects leave the club in recent times and they will not be wanting the same thing to happen here with Johnson. The 20-year-old has not been able to truly show what he can do at the City Ground as of yet so they will be determined to keep him for at least another year.
A valuation of between £8 million and £10 million might be a little steep considering he has not yet shown he can fully perform to a consistent standard in the Championship. However, the Reds got a similar sort of fee for Arvin Appiah and therefore you would have to say that the 20-year-old is worth at least the same as he was back in 2019.
The Reds will hope that their valuation forces his potential suitors to think against making a move for him this summer and therefore allows them to keep hold of him.