Despite the ongoing excitement around tonight’s fixture, the Imps are still in the business of climbing the League One table and reports are suggesting we may be making a move for a new face.
The alleged target is Nottingham Forest attacking midfielder Brennan Johnson. He’s 19-years-old, Nottingham born, and a former England Under 16 and Under 17 international. He swapped allegiances after that, appearing for Wales up to Under 21 level, and was recently called into the senior side by manager Ryan Giggs.
This isn’t fanciful reporting, it has come from Nottingham’s Paul Taylor, a widely respected journalist, who speculates the deal could ‘happen quickly’. It’s an interesting one in some respects: Johnson has been on the bench for Forest and seemingly formed part of their wider first-team squad. From our point of view, he is very much the ‘ten’ that Michael has coveted for a while, but he can play deeper also.
Last season, he appeared eight times for Forest in a number of positions. He got 48 minutes of their 3-1 win against Huddersfield in June, and operated on the right-hand side of midfield. In their FA Cup reverse against Chelsea in January, Johnson appeared for 84 minutes, as a cnetre forward and on both wings. For Wales Under 21s, on November 19th, he got 59 minutes as aa traditional ten.
It does appear that he is the number ten Michael has been patient for, possibly waiting to see if he integrated into the first-team picture at The City Ground. As it appears he hasn’t, there is now scope for a loan and the wording of Taylor’s tweet ‘ove could happen quickly’, suggests to me that some level of discussion has taken place. Noise like that isn’t usually made unless something is more or less confirmed.
It is interesting how he fits into our current structure. A switch to 4-4-1-1, for instance, would see him replacing one of the three cnetral midfields in McGrandles, Jones or Bridcutt. All three are rated highly by Michael, so would it be the case that Jhhnson plays on the right or left, instead of Grant or Anderson. After all, Forest won’t loan him to us if there is a hint he’s going to be on the bench.
Games will keep coming thick and fast though, so having cover is improtant and the exciting youngster clearly has scope to appear in a number of areas for us. That will only serve to develop our attacking arsenal, soemthing I know Michael has been keen to do since the season kicked off.