"It was a surprise he left.." The expert Middlesbrough view on Sheffield Wednesday target Marvin Johnson
Sheffield Wednesday are hopeful of completing the signing of former Middlesbrough winger Marvin Johnson.
The 30-year-old is available on a free transfer after his time on Teesside came to an end last month and Darren Moore has spoken about the need to beef up his attacking options.
We spoke to Joe Nicholson, Middlesbrough writer for the Hartlepool Mail, to get the inside track on what Johnson could offer.
What was Johnson's story at Boro?
Johnson joined Boro in 2017 when the club spent heavily following relegation from the Premier League and the appointment of Garry Monk.
After Monk was sacked halfway through the season, Johnson hardly played under Tony Pulis and was something of a forgotten man when he returned from a loan spell at Sheffield United in 2019.
Johnson was given a second chance at Boro under Jonathan Woodgate, when he was able to play as a winger in a 4-3-3 system, and as a left wing-back when the team changed shape.
Neil Warnock was also a fan of Johnson and persuaded the club to offer the player a one-year contract extension last summer.
Johnson was one of Boro’s best performers in the first half of last season but fell down the pecking order following the arrivals of Yannick Bolasie, Neeskens Kebano and Nathanial Mendez-Laing in January.
It was still a surprise Johnson wasn’t offered a new deal.
What did supporters think of him?
The feeling was generally that Johnson was unlucky not to be starting more games last term.
The winger looked bright when he came off the bench but he did struggle in some of the matches he started.
Supporters appreciated the fact that Johnson’s Boro career looked all but over, yet the winger worked hard to break into the team.
He was also one of the players who signed a short-term waiver to play on after his contract expired at the end of the 2019/20 season.
Fans were mostly surprised that Johnson wasn’t offered a new deal, yet, if Boro are to challenge for promotion from the Championship this season, it’s likely he would have been a squad player rather than a regular starter.
What's his best position?
Johnson is a player who likes to deliver early crosses into the box.
Unfortunately, Boro didn’t have a consistent goalscorer last season who could regularly get on the end of Johnson’s deliveries - otherwise the winger would have ended up with more assists.
The player would probably say his best position is on the left in a 4-3-3 system, yet he’s also adaptable and has the athleticism to play as a wing-back too.
Would you be surprised if he was to move to L1?
I would have thought some Championship clubs may have been interested in Johnson.
He will turn 31 in December but played some of the best football of his career in the first half of last season.
Overall, he made 42 Championship appearances while contributing with three goals and five assists.
How do you think he'd get on at Wednesday?
I think Johnson has the ability to perform well in League One.
After becoming a squad player at Boro, the winger will want to move to a club where he’ll be a regular starter.
The chance to try and win promotion with Wednesday may also appeal to him.