Leeds: Orta has £20m star 'high up' on Elland Road shortlist

Jesse Marsch celebrates with the Leeds United fans

Leeds United have positioned Nottingham Forest winger Brennan Johnson ‘high up their list of targets’ and could look to lure him to Elland Road if they maintain their Premier League status and his current employers remain in the Championship, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.

The Whites are currently embroiled in a relegation dogfight and find themselves just two points clear of the drop zone, but it appears head coach Jesse Marsch is still putting plans in place ahead of next season.

What’s the latest news involving Johnson?

Marsch, who was appointed as Leeds’ boss in February, will be given the opportunity to strengthen his squad for the first time when the transfer window reopens in the summer.

The American and director of football Victor Orta have reportedly set their sights on securing Johnson’s services as long as Marsch succeeds in keeping the Whites in the top flight and Nottingham Forest fail to join them.

It is understood that the Championship outfit value the 20-year-old at £20million, but that price tag has seemingly not deterred Marsch or Orta as Johnson will be a prominent target.

However, the Yorkshire giants are expected to face competition for the wide-man’s services as Brentford, who saw a £15million bid turned down in January, and Newcastle United are also showing an interest.

Johnson’s Nottingham Forest contract is set to expire next summer, potentially boosting his suitors’ hopes of being able to strike a deal.

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What has Pete O’Rourke said about Johnson?

O’Rourke understands that Johnson is among the stars at the top of Leeds’ shortlist ahead of the summer transfer window.

The journalist believes the Whites are on the right track by looking to sign the Nottingham Forest ace.

O’Rourke told GIVEMESPORT: “I think he’s obviously somebody who is high up their list of targets right now. They have been keeping tabs on him for a number of months.

“As we’ve seen, Brennan Johnson’s had a great season for Nottingham Forest, not just in the league but also in their cup run against several Premier League teams, where he impressed as well.

“I think if Leeds do stay in the Premier League and Forest don’t go up, he’s definitely somebody they should maybe be considering to sign.”

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Why is Johnson of interest to Leeds?

Nottingham Forest will battle for promotion via the Championship play-offs and a key reason for their success has been Johnson.

The nine-cap Wales international may still be in the early stages of his career, but he has enjoyed a season to remember by registering 25 goal contributions in 49 appearances.

He has also drawn praise from national team boss Robert Page, who described Johnson as being ‘almost the finished article’ and a ‘wonderful player’.

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