Johnson Talks Curious Lanzoni Move
With news that Matteo Lanzoni rejected a contract offer at Oldham and then subsequently signed for Yeovil, it was no surprise to see a few eyebrows rise.
I guess it's always going to be the case when it comes to any links between Gary and Lee Johnson, but in an effort to set the record straight and allay and no doubt stunt, potentially growing rumours, Lee Johnson has explained the exact timeline that saw Lanzoni speak to and then sign for his father's club.
Obviously after signing his short term deal in the summer, and then playing 15 times for us, Johnson says that clearly he wanted to keep the defender with us and as such he was presented with a contract offer that he felt was pitched right, and was pitched comfortably for the club financially.
'The situation was we offered Lanzoni what I felt was a very good contract for us because I wanted him to stay, he's a great lad and a good player. But, given his injury record, and he's had a lot, I pitched it where I felt comfortable. There was one particular League One club that offered him a very good deal and he was deciding to go there.'
That's the bones of it, ultimately he was offered more by a competitor and like many players they will follow that and you can't blame them.
However, Johnson wasn't comfortable with him moving to a team that hopefully we will be fighting against come the end of the season for promotion, and he did know both that Gary Johnson, his father, had commented that he liked the look of Lanzoni in previous chats, but also that he was after a centre half this window himself.
'It's an interesting little story and the sequence of events was quite important. Between me and my dad we've got an unwritten rule that we certainly won't be competing - I need to stay in the inheritance! We would never get in the way of each other for the same player unless we were competing fairly.'
Having offered Lanzoni the deal, and seen it rejected in favour of more money elsewhere, Lee then says he effectively ruled himself out of the running for the player - therefore there is no longer an issue in his old man declaring an interest should he have wished to.
'I declared myself out of the running, but, while he was on his way to that particular League One club, I then decided I'd rather him not stay in League One. I knew my dad was looking for a centre half and I knew he quite liked him so that was a time where I thought I'd ring out of courtesy.'
Lee goes on to say very clearly that 'what I didn't want it to look like was that I'd helped my old man out. Actually, I think I've been clever by keeping him out of League One and giving him to a Championship club. I think it was best for all parties and it worked out well. Certainly Matteo wanted the chance to have a go at this highest level even though he didn't know about Yeovil's interest until he was going down to see a club in League One.'
The important thing for Lee is that Yeovil's interest was last minute, and despite it being he who called his dad to say Lanzoni had rejected a deal and was moving on, it in no way impacted on his decision to decline that deal with us because Yeovil at that stage were not known to be interested in him.