One of the form players of last season’s EFL Championship, Daniel Johnson was the subject of a summer swoop from Scottish giants Rangers – and they’ve been linked once again this month.
The Gers failed in a £1.5 million pound bid for the Jamaica international, who scored 12 league goals for the Lilywhites last season as they missed out on a playoff place by finishing ninth.
Johnson is one of the four North End players, often labelled as the ‘big four’, that are out of contract in the summer – along with Ben Pearson, Ben Davies and Alan Browne.
The latter has since penned a new deal until 2024, whilst the two Bens look likely to depart either this week or in the summer on free transfers – but what about Johnson?
Football Insider reported that the North End number 11 rejected a club-record contract offer earlier in the month, and that Rangers were eyeing up a pre-contract swoop for both Johnson and Davies to join next season.
Unlike Pearson, who has told North End he will not be at the club next season and has subsequently been banished by Alex Neil in favour of new signings, Johnson has remained in the squad – and Neil explained why.
Quiz: The top 16 Preston North End record player departures – Which club did they join though?
“In DJ’s case we are hoping he will choose to stay (at the club),” the North End manager told the Lancashire Post.
“My discussions with DJ haven’t gone along similar lines to how they did with Ben Pearson.”
That seems to suggest that there have been positive contract talks with Johnson and the club, or that he just hasn’t flat-out told the hierarchy that he will be departing when his contract expires.
Whichever case it may be, North End fans will not want to lose Johnson, who possesses a goal threat from midfield and is probably the most creative player in the squad.