How Brennan Johnson to Tottenham unfolded
Ange Postecoglou’s revolution at Tottenham is in full swing and the £47.5 million signing of Brennan Johnson is regarded as a major step forward in the post Harry Kane rebuild.
Johnson has been Postecoglou’s first-choice target as Tottenham shift towards a new attacking style and the Wales international will complete his move before Friday’s deadline.
A versatile inside forward who can play across the front three, Johnson can adapt to different styles of play and possesses an asset crucial to Postecoglou’s philosophy: speed. Johnson was the second fastest player in the Premier League last season with a record speed of 36.7km/h, and Postecoglou regards pace and athleticism as fundamental.
Postecoglou also likes good characters and will have noted Johnson’s exemplary behaviour over the past few weeks. His commitment has never been in doubt and he even travelled out to join Forest’s squad in Spain for pre-season despite being injured.
It will be an emotional moment for Johnson, whose association with hometown club Nottingham Forest started at the age of eight.
Forest have reluctantly agreed to his sale but, crucially, have had their valuation met by Tottenham’s chairman Daniel Levy, who always springs to life late in the transfer window.
It will prove a huge blow to Brentford, and their head coach Thomas Frank, who up until Thursday night were still making offers for a player they have tracked for over two years.
But Tottenham view Johnson as a significant recruit and believe he is one of the best young players in the Premier League.
This is how the summer saga has unfolded
Johnson’s future has been uncertain all summer, while fears he might have to be sold first surfaced towards the end of last season.
Forest were still far from assured of Premier League football at that stage, and Johnson’s departure would arguably have happened sooner in the summer if the club had been relegated.
The threat of breaching Financial Fair Play regulations, now known as the Profit & Sustainability rules, is very real and Forest identified selling Johnson this summer as the best way to ease those concerns.
Johnson is 22, homegrown and will represent pure profit on the accounts. It may frustrate some Forest fans who are revelling in their return to the Premier League but the truth is that clubs this size, without the commercial revenue of the “big six”, often have to operate in this way. Indeed, Forest have sold striker Ben Brereton, winger Arvin Appiah and right-back Matty Cash in recent years to fall in line with financial parameters.
Selling Johnson will fall outside of this year’s accounts but will still help Forest in proving to the Premier League how they are taking the rules seriously.
With other big earners such as Steve Cook, Gustavo Scarpa, Lewis O’Brien and Omar Richards departing, and the recent announcement of a new kit sponsor, Forest should now escape any sanctions.