Michael Johnson

Johnson has clearly let himself go

With the transfer window reopening in just less than two weeks we’re likely to hear many rumours of players coming to and from Elland Road.

Thankfully Luciano Becchio is set to stay having signed a new three and a half year contract while Bradley Johnson could still be on his way out. One of the stand out rumours linking players with us could be quite convenient – not least as it would require very little change to the squad list should Bradley be shown the door.
Bradley’s namesake, Michael Johnson is the player we’re being linked with after the Man City midfielder has found it understandably hard to get into the first team at Eastlands. Johnson has been quoted as saying he would love to join Leeds as they are the team he supported as a child.

“You can’t pick or choose, but I’ve always been a Leeds fan. I’d love to play for them and a loan deal would be an ideal scenario.”

The 22 year old central midfielder broke into the Man City team in the 2006/2007 season but his best run of performances came in the 2008/2009 season, impressing alongside Stephen Ireland in what seemed a promising midfield combination. His run in the team was ended after a recurrence of a previous injury. A string of further injuries kept him out of the team while Man City went on their multi million pound spending spree – further damaging Johnson’s first team prospects. A serious knee injury that kept him out for over 10 months was the most recent knock to his development and he is now looking for a way to restart his career.

An obviously promising youngster (“the next Steven Gerrard” and “future England captain” both descriptions of him in his early years), Johnson seems not to have handled his setbacks that well- putting on weight and seemingly having aged beyond his years. He certainly looked a fantastic prospect when he started out in the Man City team but whether he can recapture that form is a different matter.

Simon Grayson does seem to have a penchant for signing Leeds fans and Michael Johnson could be seen as an ideal (and possibly more naturally gifted) replacement for Bradley. However, Grayson may be wary of gambling on a player who could find long runs of matches difficult and may not even have the ability to play at a competitive level anymore, despite his age.

As Johnson said, a loan deal would be an ideal scenario – it would allow Grayson to see if the player still has the ability and perhaps playing for his childhood team would instil Johnson with the desire and work ethic that seems to have been lost having experienced great expectancy, big contracts and a wild lifestyle too early.
Leeds United shouldn’t be seen as a rehab clinic for Premier League players but if Johnson can shed some pounds and recapture his former self, with Man City likely willing to cover the majority of his wages, it could be a gamble worth taking – especially on a loan.

  • Lee

    I agree with what you are saying here. I think Michael is a far more naturally gifted footballer then Bradley but could we give him the run of games required to get his fitness and match sharpness back? How many games do we reckon: 5 games? 8? 10? 20?

    It would be a gamble sure, but one that could pay off massively in this league. Imagine a scenario: Play-off final Vs Cardiff / QPR / Leicester, would you feel more confident with a fit Michael in the team instead of Bradley, I know I would!

  • Pete

    “Rehab clinic” would be particularly apt for Johnson if the rumours flying around Manchester a couple of years back were to be believed…

    • Casey

      True, I have a few close friends who are season ticket holders at city. I asked last season where this talented youngster had disappeared to. The rumours were the injury stories are a cover up for serious personal problems. Apparently the young man likes his “pop” and other indulgents a little to much. Judging by the pictures it can be easily believed.

  • Tim Wilsom

    Looks like the pie shop’ll be reopening.

    • TheReaper08

      @leedusa Which is good news for them as they had to lay off several staff after Andy Robinsons departure.

  • Andrew

    Bates has clearly mandated that any outgoing player be replaced in the squad with a namesake to save on kit and program costs.

  • TheReaper08

    Good mate is a Citeh fan and the lad has gone off the rails in recent times, didn’t take the sitting around recovering very well apparently.

    If he can shift the timber prior to joining he might be worth a shout depending on who is on the January departures list. It can’t be denied he was a real talent when he played.

  • Andy Flynn

    don’t think it matters if there is any truth behind the drug rumours. as long as he was only harming himself and not others (“she said no” Marlon King, Andy Carroll)
    if he is fit and ready to go then I would give him a go.

  • Ron

    I have faith in Larry’s judgement. I’d love us to take Fabian Delph on loan in the new year as he is back in training and not far off recuperating from his knee injury back in April. A tough-tackling replacement for B Johnson if he walks, whilst the other Johnson hits the treadmill and the Betty Ford Clinic in preparation.

  • EYLeeds

    He did look the real deal when he broke into City’s team and I expected him to be an England regular by now, but I doubt he will ever play for City again regardless of injuries etc.
    Would be worth taking him on loan for the season and I think it gives us a better long term option then Faye.
    I doubt City will want much of a transfer fee for him, so if it pays off we could get a bargain at the end of the season.

  • Mike

    What have we got to lose if we offer to take over his rehab and City pay All the wages for a trial period?
    I would give the lad a go under those conditions.

  • Mucker

    Give the lad a go I reckon. He obviously has the natural talent and probably just needs a bit of light at the end of the tunnel to motivate him to get fit again. If he is a genuine Leeds fan then the chance to turn out in the all white strip at Elland Road ought to be more than enough incentive for him to turn it around.

  • henry vincent lewis

    Ken has hinted that we will be adding to the squad.
    I am sure Simon has already decided which players he wants.
    Unless Johnson is close to 100% fit, bearing in mind where we are in the season, I don’t see him on the shopping list.
    Also, if he had been lined up he would have been told to keep quiet about it.
    Our pulling power is stronger than it has been for many years which bodes well for squad strengthening.
    Maybe 2 in and 4 out.
    We must push on now while the force is with us!

  • Bredbury Blue

    A City fan here

    First of all poor Michael is a terrific talent…the closest thing to Colin Bell since the days of the King.

    Sadly he has been injured for several years (Steve Ireland and now Yaya Toure are trying to fill the attacking midfield role that Johnson had made his prior to injury)…he is rumoured to like the pop…but the weight came with his in-activity. Those are very old pictures by the way…he’s back in training, with the first team, and putting in the graft according to Paddy Viera.

    Why do you think City have kept with him…’cause he has the potential to be a great…time will tell now though whether he can recover from those long-term injuries.

    If City are paying his wages on the loan, or most of it, what have you got to lose. If he was fully fit, he’d be too good for this level of football, but his injuries and his recovery make it all an if…

  • Petter-Andre (Norway)

    Just saw that John Carew will not be offered a new contract at Villa, and will be available in the transfer window. I know he’s on a good foot with both Gunnar Halle, Eirik Bakke and Kjetil Rekdal (former Norwegian national team player and captain, a BIG Leeds fan).
    I think he would want to sit down and talk to us if given the chance.

    What do you reckon? Should Larry go for him?

  • henry vincent lewis

    Thank you Bredbury blue!
    It sounds good but it may just be another rumour!
    To get him on loan would be a big boost for us at this crucial time.

    Petter-Andre – warm greetings.
    Big John’s wages would be a problem for us in the Championship and we are blessed with fine collections of strikers just now.

  • Ollie G

    I wouldn’t be disappointed if he joined us, though he’s an attacking midfielder, the very role El Capitano Howson is owning at the moment.

  • RoystonLUFC

    Hey Bredbury Blue, after paying Robbie Fowler to play for you, it would at least be a bit of a pay-back if you pay him while he plays for us!

  • Paul O’Shea

    If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!

  • Irving08

    No, no, no. Remember McSheffrey ? We don’t need any new players, but we do need to sign up the ones we have on loan. If anything we need to ship a few out; a club can have too many players on its books. We have two talented players currently out on loan; these can be called back, if needs be. By the way what is this thing about Alan Smith, a player who peaked rather early in his career and, in my view, would add nothing to what we have already: the fact that he is a Leeds lad, in itself, is not an argument for wanting him.

  • Matt BB

    IF we need to sign anyone its that holding midfield role. I suspect thats going to be this Jamaican lad Morrison, who will do the grunt work that Doyle did so well last season. (and by the way what a balls up it was letting him go back to Coventry – he is flying there).

    Michael Johnson is a young lad with problems, and in those situations a change of situation is best, it could be very astute to get him in on loan, but he absolutely would have to be on citys payroll as we’d be building his fitness up at our own cost and probably only getting 10 minutes or so from him per game. But he could be a good long term option as lets be honest City will probably let him go for free now.

  • richard

    We dont need another Robbo/pieman.

  • trueyorxman

    All we need to do at the mo’ is sign O’B & McCartney, save money for later if (when!) we do go up. Players will be falling over themselves to join us then

  • Craig

    @trueyorxman

    I tend to agree with you here mate. Everyone is already pointing to our squad which has more depth than our competitors and I don’t see much point in adding to it with players who may be stuck in the reserves if we do go up.

  • richard

    We dont need any more id say, we aint really seen Nunez and Paynter yet, do we still have Nunez tho.

  • Jim Barnett

    Can’t we sign the real Michael Johnson instead to have a run at the opposition full backs?! In fact, scrap that idea…we’ve already got 6 wingers.

  • Joey

    I think we shoulld make 2 signings, a center half and a tough midfielder and we’d be sure to go up! keep hold of O’Brien n McCartney as well. We’d be Championies haha