Nottingham Forest forward Brennan Johnson was wanted by Leeds as a 16-year-old according to their director of football, Victor Orta.
The key Elland Road figure has been discussing some of the club’s former transfer targets with Spanish publication Marca.
Johnson has been a revelation at Forest this season. He has scored 12 goals and claimed six assists, with Forest in the hunt for a play-off place.
Several clubs have been linked with the 20-year-old recently; including Leeds, Brentford, Leicester and Newcastle.
Johnson will have just a year to run on his current deal in the summer. That makes his situation perilous and the club will move to tie him down when the season ends.
Orta has been discussing the Reds talent and has explained that he tried to sign him when he was in the Forest under-18s.
He told Marca: “Like Brennan Johnson now, he’s a Wales international again, the best young player in the English second division. Already he is 20. He has rejected Brentford from Forest.
“My model was to have reached Brennan Johnson when he was 16 and we tried. But it could not be.”
Forest facing crossroads over Johnson
Whatever the Reds do, they have to get Johnson’s situation sorted and quickly. A decision has to be made in the summer over whether he signs a new deal or the club cash in on him.
If Johnson is not willing to sign a new contract then the club must seriously consider offloading him to recoup the very best amount they can.
Forest won’t want to lose him. His goal tally has been fantastic this season and he could be a big player for the team next season too.
Leeds will perhaps come sniffing around him again in the summer. Any club that wants him should forget signing him on the cheap, however.