Yesterday evening, centre-half Darnell Johnson put pen to paper, agreeing to a 3-year deal after having been on a week-to-week deal all summer. The U23s starlet had been hesitant to commit to staying at the King Power due to concerns over first-team opportunities.
He doesn’t look too worried about those opportunities now, does he?
I’ll skip some of the “new signing” boilerplate and just get right to the point: This is great news for City fans. Johnson was absolutely imperious at the back with the U23s, helping the Foxes’ youth side to a third-place finish in the PL2. Youth coach Steve Beaglehole’s side allowed only 20 goals in 22 matches, easily the best defensive tally in the league (LIverpool’s U23s were second-best with 27 goals allowed).
This summer, Johnson has been a revelation in the pre-season friendlies. He plays at a pace seldom seen in a centre-half, is comfortable on the ball, and excellent in the air. He’s a fixture in the England U20 setup as well, and seems likely to work his way up the ladder. He doesn’t turn 20 until September, so he’s only going to get better.
There’s a tendency to downplay our home-grown talent, especially when we’re being linked with foreign players who’ll put our extended ASCII character sets to the test (Çağlar Söyüncü, I’m looking at you). This is the sort of news that could easily be buried and forgotten during the transfer window, but make no mistake: This is a significant signing for City.