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When Steve McClaren was briefly in charge of Derby County for the second time, Oxford United midfielder Marvin Johnson was linked with a move in the summer.
Now that McClaren has gone, many would expect Derby’s transfer policy to change and for their interest to be dropped altogether. However, having put some effort into scouting and analysing Johnson’s displays it would be folly to throw away plans to sign the former Motherwell man.
Johnson began his career with Solihull Moors, before moving to Romulus and then onto Kidderminster Harriers where he scored 17 goals in 108 appearances. This put him on the notice of Scottish Premiership side Motherwell who signed him on deadline day in 2015. He went on to make 53 appearances and scored 6 goals with his continued improvement and it was all noted down south by Michael Appleton.
In August 2016, another deadline day transfer was on the cards for Johnson as he signed for Appleton’s Oxford United. His improvement has not stopped and playing in England’s third tier, he was still being noticed.
Step forward Derby County. His brilliant late goal against Luton Town which sent his side to Wembley in the Checkatrade Trophy is one of the many things which have not gone unnoticed by the Midlands club.
The truth is that when the season is done, Johnson will be fully entitled to look up to the Championship and would want to back his ability to fit in at that level. Rather traditionally, Johnson is a left-footed player who plays down the left and could provide some nice balance to the Derby midfield. He wouldn’t look out of place at Pride Park I shouldn’t think.
Marvin Johnson has been involved in a goal in over 40% of the games he’s played in this season. Even at the lower levels, it is an impressive stat. Derby could do a lot worse than to follow-up their interest in Johnson who looks just the kind of late bloomer who, when given time and games, could make strides all the way up towards the Premier League.