Aston Villa sold Daniel Johnson for just £50k, reveals Preston manager

Preston North End

Preston North End snapped up Aston Villa youngster Daniel Johnson for just £50,000, according to manager Simon Grayson.

Preston North End are gearing up for tonight's big FA Cup clash against Manchester United, with the League One highflyers keen to spring an upset.

The Red Devils travel to Deepdale for the first time since 1972, with this fifth round FA Cup battle proving to be a hotly anticipated encounter.

Just 33 miles separate the teams geographically, but two whole divisions separate them in the football pyramid, with United up in third place in the Premier League whilst Preston are fourth in League One.

The Lilywhites will be able to call upon fit again goal machine Joe Garner, but they won't be able to use midfielder Daniel Johnson.

The 22-year-old signed for Preston in January from Aston Villa having impressed during loan spells with Chesterfield and Oldham, but is cup-tied for the FA Cup having played for Oldham against Doncaster in the second round.

With media keen to highlight the difference in spending power between Preston and Manchester United, North End boss Simon Grayson told the Mirror that Johnson's signature was the biggest fee he's paid for a player during his time in charge at Deepdale - and it was just £50,000.

"The only ­significant fee we’ve paid for a player in my two years here is the £50,000 we gave Aston Villa last week for Daniel Johnson," admitted Grayson.

Johnson was born in Jamaica, but was on the books at Villa from the age of 16, and was even captain of the Villa academy during his time with the club.

However, he failed to make any Premier League appearances for the club having been given no opportunities by then-manager Paul Lambert.

Villa have allowed a number of youngsters to leave in recent years, such as Derrick Williams and Samir Carruthers, both of whom are impressing with Bristol City and MK Dons in League One - and having paid a relative pittance, Preston will be hoping for similar rewards from Johnson's arrival.

Yet for Villa fans, it's another damning indictment of Lambert's refusal to use the youth system at Villa Park - and they have to pray that they haven't made a big mistake letting Johnson go for just £50,000.

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch