Saturday, 12 February 2011

Leeds United: Grayson could take Johnson

Simon Grayson has given the clearest hint yet of a plan to bring Michael Johnson to Leeds United by revealing that Manchester City want assurances over the midfielder's fitness before sending him out on loan.
Scouts from Leeds took in Johnson's performance during a reserve game between Manchester City and Bolton on Tuesday night, and United's manager left no doubt that he was monitoring the 22-year-old's progress with the emergency loan window open.

Leeds used the temporary market earlier this week, signing right-back Eric Lichaj from Aston Villa as cover for the injured Paul Connolly, and the club watched Johnson's 77-minute outing for City's reserves amid the possibility that he will be made available for a short-term loan by his parent club.

Johnson is returning from a long-term knee injury and has not played in a competitive fixture for more than 12 months, but an indication of his improving fitness was Manchester City's decision to name him in the 25-man squad submitted to the Premier League on February 1 and make him eligible for the second half of their season.

Grayson has repeatedly stated that he is satisfied with the strength of his existing squad but he made no secret either of his intention to pursue any options which will "make us better" during the Championship run-in.

Grayson said: "He (Johnson) is a good player and he played 80 minutes for the reserves the other night. We like good players.

"Michael made it public that he's a Leeds fan and would like to play for us. We've got a good team at the moment and when you're after any particular player, you need two things – the club to be willing to allow them out and the player wanting to come out.

"City at this moment aren't letting Michael out because they don't think he's fit enough. In the future if they let him out, would we want to take him? You'd have to wait and see."

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