If the transfer gossip columns are to be believed, Glasgow Rangers want to bolster their midfield options in the January transfer window.
Four names have continued to dominate the Rangers rumour mill in recent months, namely Aberdeen’s Scott Wright, Peterborough’s Siriki Dembele, Preston North End’s Daniel Johnson and former West Ham star-turned-free-agent Jack Wilshere.
Light Blues boss Steven Gerrard has remained tight-lipped over any potential incomings at Ibrox but hinted that there’s still business to be done in the transfer market as he bids to prevent Celtic from winning ‘ten in a row.’
Reports have now emerged over the past week that Rangers have started negotiations with Johnson, whose contract is set to expire in the summer, having rejected a club-record contract offer from the Championship club.
Kingston-born Johnson, 28, has been impressing in the English Championship for Preston with four goals and three assists in 20 appearances across all competitions this season.
He began his career at Crystal Palace before a major move to Aston Villa’s academy. After excelling as a youngster, he signed his first professional contract at Villa Park, where he played under former Rangers manager Alex McLeish, who was effusive in his praise for the “lovely little player.”
Capable of playing in the centre, on the left or on the right of the midfield, he has legitimate claims to not only being one of Preston’s best central midfielders but also one of the best attacking players in the division too, based on the statistics.
Last season, Johnson bagged 12 goals and 7 assists from the midfield in 33 appearances in the Championship, resulting in a 7 average rating, per WhoScored. For context, that’s only four fewer than tenth-placed Swansea City striker Andre Ayew.
In fact, if you take a closer look at the numbers, the Jamaican actually outperformed Ayew in certain areas, producing 1.4 key passes to Ayew’s 0.9, suggesting that he has a well-rounded game and create chances for others whilst scoring himself.
It’s hard to ignore the fact that a fit and in-form Johnson would be a valuable asset to most sides in the Scottish Premiership.
An extremely talented player, the two-time £3.6m-rated Jamaica international has scored 36 goals in 203 Championship appearances for Preston, emphasising the fact he could add a natural goal threat in the middle of the park.
If that isn’t enough to convince you otherwise, former Motherwell player Chris Humphrey played with him at Preston and recently described his former teammate as an “unbelievable” talent.
Having failed to sign him from Deepdale last summer, Ross Wilson must try and sign the midfielder on a pre-contract agreement in January. After all, he may not get another chance.
AND in other news, Rangers should unleash Cedric Itten against Ross County…