The future of Daniel Johnson at Preston North End has been a hot topic since the last transfer window, where the Jamaican international was tipped to leave Deepdale for pastures new.
Speculation emerged that he would become a Rangers player before too long, with the Glasgow giants heavily interested in 28-year-old.
Steven Gerrard was unsuccessful in the end though in his attempts to lure Johnson to Ibrox, with Rangers thought to have had a £1.5 million bid rejected.
Considering North End managed to snag ‘DJ’ from Aston Villa for the measly sum of £50,000 back in 2015, it would be a pretty big mark-up, but his contributions to the Lilywhites since his arrival six years ago made him worth far more in the eyes of the club.
For a player that scored 12 Championship goals last season and added a further eight assists (transfermarkt), the Rangers bid was laughed off – but things have now changed as we’ve entered the January transfer window.
Johnson is one of the North End ‘big four’ whose contracts are set to expire in the summer, and there has been constant speculation all season on their future which has threatened to derail Preston’s campaign.
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Alan Browne has since penned a new three-and-a-half year deal, but uncertainty still remains on Johnson, Ben Davies and Ben Pearson.
The trio are reported to have rejected club-record £17,000-per week deals, with Celtic and West Brom among clubs looking at Pearson and the Green half of Glasgow also looking at Davies, along with Serie A side Udinese.
And fresh reports in the past week have linked Rangers with making a fresh move for Johnson on a pre-contract deal, which would see him cross the border for nothing in the summer.
Gerrard is probably reluctant to spend a fee on Johnson this month, especially when the Scottish Premiership already looks sewn up and the fact that he wouldn’t cost a penny in six months time.
But it will be disappointing for Preston who have put a lot into Johnson’s development and they’re likely to not ever see a transfer fee for the player, whose performances last season were worthy of bids in the excess of £5 million that have never arrived.
Alex Neil has strengthened accordingly so far this month with the loan arrival of Jayson Molumby and the exciting capture of Doncaster midfielder Ben Whiteman – perhaps both in preparation for Johnson and Pearson’s departures – and whilst PNE fans will be sad to see the Jamaican go, they wouldn’t begrudge him the opportunity to play European football if he does end up in Glasgow.