Birmingham City, Luton Town and Oxford United in transfer battle

Luton Town, Oxford United and Birmingham City are all interested in signing Max Johnston from Sturm Graz in the summer transfer window.

That’s according to a report from Sky Sports journalist Anthony Joseph, who says that the Football League trio have all enquired about a potential loan deal for the right-back.

Johnston came through the academy ranks at Scottish Premiership side Motherwell, and after loan spells elsewhere in Scotland, was a regular at Fir Park during the latter part of the 2022/23 season.

However, he would leave the Lanarkshire club in the summer of 2023 to sign for Sturm Graz for an undisclosed fee.

Last season then saw him help his new side complete a league and cup double in Austria, making 29 appearances in all competitions.

Max Johnston club career record – stats from Transfermarkt









Queen of the South




Cove Rangers




Sturm Graz




Sturm Graz II




As of 9th July 2024

Now though, it seems there is a chance that the 20-year-old could be on the move again with the market now well underway.

Luton, Oxford and Birmingham all keen on Max Johnston

As per this latest update, Luton, Oxford and Birmingham have all made contact with Sturm Graz, to enquire about the possibility of taking the right-back on loan this season.

However, the trio are not alone with their interest in Johnston, meaning he could still go elsewhere this summer.

It is thought that Danish side AGF Aarhus are another team who hold an interest in a potential deal for the Scottish youth international.

Johnston signed a four-year contract with Sturm Graz when he joined last summer, securing his future with the Austrian side until the end of the 2026/27 season.

Following Luton’s relegation from the Premier League and Oxford’s promotion from League One last season, both will be playing Championship football in the coming campaign.

Luton completed their first signing of the summer over the weekend with the addition of midfielder Shandon Baptiste, while Oxford have already added five new players to their first-team squad.

Goalkeeper Jakob Knightbridge, full-backs Peter Kioso and Jack Currie, as well as midfield pair Will Vaulks and Louie Sibley have all completed permanent moves to the Kassam Stadium.

By contrast, Birmingham are preparing for life in League One in the 2024/25 campaign, after their relegation from the Championship was confirmed on the final day of last season.

The Blues have also made four signings already this summer, with goalkeeping duo Ryan Allsop and Bailey Peacock-Farrell, striker Alfie May and winger Emil Hansson all joining the club.

Max Johnston could be a good signing for EFL clubs

It does feel as though some of these clubs may need the signing of Johnston more than others as things stand.

In the case of Oxford, they do already have two options on the right-hand side of their defence, in the form of new signing Kioso, and Sam Long.

As a result, another right-back such as Johnston is arguably not a priority for the U’s at this moment in time.

By contrast, Luton only have Daiki Hashioka as a natural senior option in that position. Meanwhile, Birmingham may need to replace Cody Drameh after the end of his loan spell from Leeds United.


Birmingham City plotting summer transfer swoop for Celtic player

Birmingham City are interested in signing Celtic youngster Bosun Lawal during the summer transfer window.

That may mean those two need to push harder for Johnston, whose success in Austria last season suggests he could be a solid and useful asset for one of these interested clubs.

You also wonder whether the fact that Luton and Oxford may have an advantage over Birmingham, in being able to offer the 20-year-old the chance to play at a higher level next season.

With that in mind, this does look as though it could be one transfer battle worth keeping an eye on this summer, given the number of variables involved in it.

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