Leeds’ director of football Victor Orta has revealed that he attempted to sign Nottingham Forest forward Brennan Johnson when he was 16.
In an interview with Marca, Orta said: “my model was to reach Brennan Johnson when he was 16 and we tried. But it could not be.
“Now he is a Welsh international and the best young player in the English second division already”.
While Leeds failed to sign Johnson as part of the club’s “anticipate talent project” there may be an opportunity to swoop for the 20-year-old again this summer.
Leeds were one of a number of teams linked with Johnson in January and may compete for his signature once more.
With Johnson valued at around £20 million, what could he bring to Elland Road?
Johnson has flourished at Forest this season, becoming one of the most exciting attackers in the Championship.
He is capable of playing through the middle, on the wing and even as an attacking midfielder. This flexibility could bring unpredictability to the Leeds attack.
The Welshman has grabbed 11 goals and six assists in 35 starts, averaging a goal or assist every other game.
These are impressive numbers for a 20-year-old who does not always play as an out and out striker.
However, Johnson is much more than his end product, with his pace and dribbling ability making him a direct player who can cause defenders problems.
Last season Johnson found himself on loan at Lincoln City. At just 19 he lit up League One, hitting ten goals and adding six assists.
The fact Johnson has been able to not only replicate these stats after moving up a level to the Championship, but to better them, demonstrates his ability to adapt to tougher leagues.
This bodes well ahead of a potential move to the top flight.
His form this season has been recognised by Wales manager Rob Page, who brought Johnson on as a substitute in the World Cup Play-Off semi-final against Austria.
Page said: “He’s excelling at Championship level. He’s definitely capable of playing higher”.
Whether or not Leeds make a move for the starlet in the summer it seems likely Johnson will soon be playing in the Premier League.
With Patrick Bamford struggling this season with injuries, Johnson could be the perfect option to lighten the load on his shoulders.