MOTHERWELL are preparing themselves to receive a £500,000 bid for their star player Marvin Johnson from English Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion.

We understand that the highly-rated winger has been watched several times over the last couple of weeks by the south coast club, which is currently managed by Chris Hughton.

Colin Calderwood, the former Scotland international, is Hughton's assistant and he watched as Johnson two weeks ago scored one and set up two goals against Stranraer in the Betfred Cup. The Championship club have had a scout at almost every Motherwell game so far this season.

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Johnson, 25, has attracted a lot of interest since the start of the domestic campaign and while Motherwell do not want to lose a player who has become something of a talisman for the team, the Lanarkshire outfit would be ready to sell if Brighton or anyone else could match their valuation of the winger, or at least come close to their asking price.

The Motherwell board are believed to want at least £1million for Johnson who moved to Fir Park 18 months ago.

Oxford United made a bid of around £300,000 last week, which was rejected, and after three offers they this week backed out of the race for the Englishman.

Whether Brighton, who are one of the richest clubs in English football's second tier, believe Johnson is worth a seven figure bid remains to be seen; however, they do want the player and would have the funds to facilitate such a transfer.

Mark McGhee, the Motherwell manager, does not want to lose one of his best players but would understand if the board agreed to sell him if their valuation was matched.

If Johnson did go for even close to £1m then he would be one of the Fir Park outfit's biggest ever transfers out the club.

Johnson has made a terrific start to the season with four goals from four games, including one in the win at Kilmarnock on Saturday on the first day of the Ladbrokes Premier League season.