Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cooper has confirmed that Brennan Johnson will travel with the squad to Spain. The Reds are heading out for some warm-weather training later this week.
Johnson has been linked with a move to Aston Villa recently. It’s also been claimed that the Reds would be willing to let their star man leave the club if an offer of £50 million is received.
Forest began their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 win over Notts County yesterday. Hwang Ui-jo scored the game’s only goal but tongues were wagging when Johnson wasn’t included in the squad at all.
The 22-year-old was at Meadow Lane though; pictured alongside Serge Aurier who also missed out and watched the game from the stands.
After the game, Cooper was naturally quizzed on Johnson and his Forest future. He confirmed that the player would be going to Spain, although he did also explain some details about an injury that he’s sustained.
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He told BBC Radio Nottingham: “He got injured with the second game with Wales. It didn’t get diagnosed at the time so that’s a bit frustrating. He’s going to be out for a couple of weeks; it’s not serious, it’s not major, he just needs a bit of something to sort his ankle out.
“He will be with us in Spain next week, doing his work out there. If there’s speculation about anything else, then I’m not too sure. If there is speculation then that’s normal given the talented player he is.
“It’s inevitable, if a player is doing well, especially young players that speculation will always be there. If people have got nothing to talk about then they’ll make things up but we have to accept that.”
Cooper delivers intriguing verdict on Forest star Johnson
Cooper hasn’t ruled out a departure from Forest for Johnson. But clearly, he feels that the talks are little more than idle speculation given that the Reds player is a talented youngster.
Utilising Johnson in pre-season can only bode well for his future at Forest. If Forest were desperate to sell him then they would probably ramp up the move by leaving him out of training and matches.
By taking him to Spain, it shows a commitment. It shows that Forest are keen to work on his fitness and get him out on the grass ahead of the 2023/24 campaign that starts in under five weeks.
Cooper clearly enjoys working with Johnson on a daily basis. His interview suggested that he’s desperate to keep the player around the club and isn’t convinced that the club will sell him.
It will definitely be interesting to see what happened with Forest star Johnson. Interest will exist but if the Reds are to continue progressing then they simply have to keep hold of their talented stars.