West Ham United are interested in a deal to bring Brennan Johnson to the London Stadium in the January transfer window.
That’s according to a report by the Daily Mail, who claim that David Moyes’ West Ham side have joined Brentford, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur in the race for the versatile Nottingham Forest attacking midfielder, with the Championship side believed to be demanding a fee in the region of £14m in order to part with the 20-year-old this month.
The report goes on to state that Steve Cooper would like to avoid selling the Wales international midway through the current campaign, however, it is believed that a significant offer from a Premier League side could leave the Reds with no other choice but to cash in on the youngster before the end of the month
While it is still very early days in Johnson’s professional football career, the youngster has nevertheless proven that he is a player with an exceptional amount of potential in the game.
Indeed, over his 43 League One appearances while out on loan at Lincoln City last season, the £900k-rated man scored a whopping 11 goals, registered five assists and created four big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 2.3 shots and making 0.7 key passes per game.
These returns saw the 20-year-old earn an impressive seasonal SofaScore match rating of 6.98, ranking him as Michael Appleton’s sixth-best performer in the third tier of English football last time out.
The player who Glenn Murray dubbed a “special” talent has continued this fine form over his 25 Championship outings upon his return to Forest last summer, scoring five goals, providing five assists and creating nine big chances for his teammates, in addition to making an average of 1.3 key passes and taking 1.6 shots per game.
However, it is not only Johnson’s returns in front of goal which would suggest he would make a fantastic addition to Moyes’ options in attack, but also his positional versatility – with the youngster being able to operate from central and attacking midfield, as well as from either wing and at centre-forward.
Indeed, there are very clear similarities that can be drawn between the Nottingham Forest youngster and former West Ham midfielder Joe Cole, who scored 17 goals and provided eight assists over his 180 appearances for the Hammers – doing so while being deployed out wide or through the middle of the park in attacking midfield.
As such, while £14m is undoubtedly a hefty fee to pay for a Championship player, it would appear extremely wise for Moyes to cough up for the £2.5k-per-week man this winter, as, should Johnson continue on his current trajectory, the Scot could well unearth West Ham’s next Cole in the 20-year-old Forest starlet.