Premier league interest in young Red

Fifteen year old Brennan Johnson, son of former Ipswich Town and Nottingham Forest striker David Johnson, is allegedly a transfer target for Everton FC who are weighing up Forest’s £1 million valuation. Brennan, a forward with explosive pace, recently scored with a smart finish in Forest under 18’s 5-0 victory against Millwall FC under 18s.

Johnson is not the only son of a former player in the Forest academy at present.

Also on the books are Tyler Walker, son of former England international Des who is currently a youth coach at local rivals Derby County, and Charlie Jemson, son of Nigel Jemson ('Jemmo') who made over 50 appearances for the club from the late 80s to early 90s. But it is David's son who is attracting Premier League interest, with Everton keen to complete a deal before the summer. It will be the job of Nottingham Forest's new Director of Football Frank McParland to negotiate any official approach. If no agreement is reached, Everton may be able to proceed via a tribunal and pay compensation.

Everton have adopted a forward-thinking approach to player recruitment under newly appointed Director of Football Steve Walsh, after recently securing a deal for 19 year old Ademola Lookman from Charlton Athletic for an eye-catching fee of £11 million.

Other teenage additions from the football league include Dominic Calvert-Lewin from Sheffield United and Matty Foulds from Bury. Commenting on Everton’s policy, Walsh said: “The most important thing is the recruitment of players for the first team, but I'm also conscious of the fact we have a good academy and good young players coming through.”

Foundations for a bright future or income generation?

Johnson is just the latest player in the spotlight from the profoundly productive conveyor-belt academy at Nottingham.

Ben Brereton recently broke into the first team and received a call-up to the England under 19 squad while another academy product Oliver Burke was sold to the German Bundesliga club Red Bull Leipzig for £13 million in August. Other notable academy graduates currently holding down a place in the first team are Ben Osborn, Matty Cash, Jordan Smith and Joe Worrall.

Fans of the club may soon be experiencing the increasingly familiar feeling of losing another locally grown prospect in similar circumstances to the sale of Patrick Bamford to Chelsea for £1.5 million in 2012. It is no secret that owner Fawaz al-Hasawi has been actively looking to sell the club or seek substantial investment, with an American takeover fronted by former San Diego Padres owner John Jay Moores falling through in the new year. With such a rich pool of young talent in the academy, there is a constant fear of further outgoings to balance the books and to satisfy the Football League's Financial Fairplay rules.