Mark McGhee: No Brighton bid for Marvin Johnson
MOTHERWELL boss Mark McGhee insists there has been no approach from Brighton for Marvin Johnson - but told the in-form forward he can still earn himself a big-money move south.
Reports on Tuesday morning suggested Chris Hughton’s Seagulls were preparing a £500,000 offer for the attacker, who has already netted four goals in five games this term.
It comes just a week after Oxford had a £300,000 bid rejected.
Former Albion boss McGhee insists his old club have not been in touch to enquire about the Steelmen’s 25-year-old star performer.
But he did hint that if Johnson continues to trouble defences like he has in the opening weeks of the campaign it will be unlikely he hangs around at Fir Park for much longer.
McGhee, speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Betfred Cup clash with Celtic, said: “I was at Brighton’s game with Lazio last week and I spoke to their chairman and Paul Winstanley [Brighton’s head of recruitment], and neither of them mentioned Marvin Johnson to me.
“So it’s all speculation. I know these guys very, very well and I can assure you they would speak to me.
“Marvin has got to deal with the speculation, we’ve got to deal with it too. Until somebody makes an offer then [the speculation]’s not really worth the paper it’s written on.
“I’m not confident [about Johnson’s future] either way. He’s a brilliant player and I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody like Brighton fancied him. But everyday that ticks by is one less I have to contend with.”
McGhee expects Johnson’s performances to remain consistent despite the uncertainty.
He said: “I think the speculation will be disruptive a wee bit for him but so far he is a boy who doesn’t really let these things distract him.
“He should perform all right, although in the background his head will be churning a wee bit at the possibilities.
“I’ve spoken to him a couple of times and reassured him that we are looking after his best interests as well. If there are developments then we will talk to him.
“But until there are, there is not much to be said other than to encourage him not to be distracted. If [playing in England] is his ambition, then the best way to achieve it is to continue playing the way he is.
“If he keeps doing what he’s been doing against Celtic and the others before the window closes, then who knows what can happen?”
Well return to Celtic Park for the first time since their 7-0 drubbing on the final day of last term.
But McGhee insists his side will put up a stiffer fight in Wednesday’s round-of-16 clash than they did in their previous encounter with the Hoops.
“I’m excited and nervous,” said the Fir Park boss. “The last time we went to Parkhead we got hammered. But we also know that we went there last season and won too.
“I’d imagine our performance tomorrow night will be much more reminiscent of the first game than the last game.”