Leeds United chief Victor Orta has revealed he tried to sign Championship star Brennan Johnson before his rise with Nottingham Forest.

Johnson is one of the rising stars of the Championship, having established himself as a key player for Forest since his debut in August 2019.

This season is undoubtedly his best so far, with 12 goals and five assists in 40 games in all competitions, earning him plenty of attention.

Those numbers, coupled with a growing list of impressive individual performances, means he has plenty of admirers, particularly in the Premier League.

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There is a growing belief that several clubs could make their move for the 20-year-old this summer, and Leeds have been named among the potential suitors.

But it seems they could have had him much earlier, with Leeds chief Orta revealing Johnson was on their list when he was 16-years-old.

“We have a project with the full support of the whole board and the CEO,” he told Marca.

“I identified that we had to anticipate, and we developed the ‘Anticipate Project Talent’ with my scouting group of English people, who are the best in England.

“We had to get to the player much earlier because if we waited for the player to debut, to have minutes in the Championship… Like Brennan Johnson now, he’s a new Welsh international, best young player in the English second division is already at £20m.

“My model was to have got Brennan Johnson when he was 16, and we tried. But it wasn’t to be.

“It could have been Greenwood, Gelhardt, Lewis Bate… We’ve paid between one and two million for these players, so we’ve got about 20 players.”