Leeds United: Johnson rumours are just talk – for now

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez has played down talk of a January move for Leeds United midfielder Bradley Johnson – and rumours of firm interest from Bolton Wanderers appear to be wide of the mark.

Wigan and Bolton are two of the clubs who have been linked to Johnson since he was transfer-listed by United but Martinez refused to confirm that he would be on his list of targets next month.

Leeds are willing to sell Johnson during the transfer window after

failing to agree a new deal with the 23-year-old.

Johnson recently rejected a final contract offer from Leeds and his existing deal is due to expire in six months' time.

Leeds will listen to offers made for him in the coming weeks as they attempt to avoid losing him on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Asked if he was interested in Johnson, Martinez said: "There are going

to be a lot of names thrown at us and a lot of speculation.

"I think we will speak about the window when it arrives but at the moment it is too early."

Bolton were reported to have identified Johnson as a possible January signing but sources in Lancashire say manager Owen Coyle has no intention of submitting a bid to Elland Road when the transfer window opens.

Burnley, Stoke City and Sheffield United are other clubs who are said to be monitoring Johnson, and Leeds do not plan to return to the player with an improved contract offer having already upped their initial proposal.

Johnson has continued to play a prominent role in United's first team despite the collapse of negotiations between his advisors and Leeds officials, and manager Simon Grayson is expected to use the former Northampton Town player for as long as he is on the books at Elland Road.

His position in Grayson's line-up seemed increasingly uncertain last week following a public spat with chairman Ken Bates and the booing of him by United's supporters during the club's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, but he turned in a solid performance in a 3-2 victory at Burnley having retained the faith of his manager.

Grayson said: "If he's playing well then he'll stay in the team. I've said that from day one. It's based on football reasons.

"No player likes to have negativity or criticism aimed at them but I make the decisions."

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