Kettlewell: Motherwell have offered rising star Johnston new contract

The Fir Park club are keen to hold on to their highly-rate defender.

Motherwell boss reveals club have made new contract offer to Max Johnston SNS Group

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell has revealed that a new contract is on the table for Max Johnston – and that the club has had no direct contact from anyone interested in buying the defender.

Johnston’s recent performances have caught the eye of many and the 19-year-old has been linked with a number of big clubs, with top flight sides in England and Germany credited with an interest.

Bologna, who have a history of doing transfer business in Scotland after signing Aaron Hickey and Lewis Ferguson, are the latest club said to be monitoring the player. That has prompted speculation that Johnston could leave when his contract expires at the end of the season, with Motherwell receiving training compensation.

Fir Park boss Stuart Kettlewell said that he was keen to see the player continue to develop at Motherwell and revealed that a contract extension offer had been made.

“This club has always valued Max,” Kettlewell said. “This football club has always known how good a player Max Johnston is.

“I think I’ve probably indicated with team selection and how I’ve approached the job so far what i think of max.
Max also knows that on a personal front.

“The football club had already done that work. There has been an offer to the player because you very much see him as what comes next in the future.

“The football club has become synonymous with producing its own players and Max becomes another one of those guys.”

Kettlewell admitted he was aware of the media reports surrounding the player but said there had been no official approach from anyone as far as he was aware.

“As for what happens in the future, I’ve seen the reports and I understand that big teams and good clubs will be interested in good players,” the manager said.

“But there’s certainly been no contact directly to myself or members of the football club.

“And we’re set on where we want to go and what we want to do with Max.

“From a conversation with him, and I’m not speaking out of turn here, he’s very much focused on the job in hand and he wants to go play games for Motherwell and be a success here.

“That’s all I need to know.”

Kettlewell is preparing his players for Saturday’s trip to his old club Ross County in what could be a crucial game at the bottom end of the table.

Motherwell were 5-0 winners on their last trip to Dingwall in October, recording arguably their best result of the season.

The manager admitted that was a memorable victory but says he won’t be putting too much weight on it when the team faces Malky Mackay’s side this weekend.

“You take each game on its own merit,” he said. “You maybe touch on aspects that have worked in the past, and I will do that, but that’s probably more for my benefit than the players themselves.

“It was an unbelievable win up in Dingwall back at the start of October but you also face a different Ross County side and I think you have to take that into account.”

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