Simon Grayson revealed today that he expects Bradley Johnson to remain with Leeds United until the end of the season, insisting it would take a major cash offer to tempt him to sell the midfielder.
United's manager said Johnson's impressive form – culminating in a sublime goal in Wednesday night's FA Cup third-round replay against Arsenal – was likely to see him stay at Elland Road beyond the end of the January transfer window, admitting he was "not really interested" in seeing Johnson leave.
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The 23-year-old has been on the transfer list since the middle of November, when he turned down a final contract offer from Leeds, and his retention beyond the end of the window window would risk him departing Elland Road on a free transfer in the summer.
But Grayson said Johnson had produced the finest performances of his career at Leeds in the weeks which followed his rejection of a new deal, and United's manager looks set to keep hold of the former Northampton Town player, despite the likelihood that he will sign at least one new midfielder before the end of the month.
Asked if Johnson would be part of his squad on February 1, Grayson said: "I would have thought so.
"We've had enquiries but I'm not really prepared to sell him. It would take a decent amount of money for me to do that.
"Whatever happens in the future will happen but it would take a lot of money for him to leave the football club, and with the way he's playing at the moment I'm not really interested in that happening."
Johnson's brilliant finish against Arsenal was his second goal in two games, and the midfielder has overcome criticism aimed at him from United's supporters following his decision to rejected the club's contract proposal.
He will line-up again at Portsmouth tomorrow, and Grayson said: "I said from day one when he turned down the offer that he'll be picked on merit. He's played very well and, if anything, he's probably played his best football since I've been at the club.
"He never complains about the positions I play him in, whether it's at left-back or in the centre of midfield, but three months ago he would probably have thought of himself as an attacking midfielder. The way we're playing at the moment, he's probably more of a holding midfielder.
"I've been delighted with his attitude and he's put everything to one side. Six weeks ago he was booed off the pitch but on Saturday the crowd were chanting his name. That's great for him because he's doing something right."