Sunderland misfit Adam Matthews has joined Championship strugglers Bristol City, with the Black Cats poised to capture fellow right-back Emmanuel Eboue.
Matthews has proved to be a transfer flop since arriving at Sunderland in a £2million move from Celtic during the summer.
The Welsh international has made just two competitive appearances for Sunderland - both in August - and while he hasn't been helped by injuries, there have been reservations over his suitability for Premier League football.
Matthews has now joined Championship relegation contenders Bristol City on loan until the end of the season, with the possibility of a permanent move next summer.
"Adam Matthews has lost his way a bit since going to Sunderland, but not long ago he was marking (Lionel) Messi for Celtic," said Johnson.
"He’s a quality, young signing who is hungry to play.
"He moved to Sunderland for £2m and hasn’t got in the team enough, so he’s keen to come here and prove himself.
"People may think 'why do we need another right-back?' It’s a number of things really. We’re in the market for good players and that’s what Adam is.
"He’s quick with good technique. The risk and reward with any loan is how quickly you can get the player up to speed and get them integrated to the group."
Bristol City along with Birmingham and Leeds are understood to have made enquiries for Matthews during the January transfer window.
However, Sam Allardyce was not willing to rubber-stamp Matthews' loan exit unless he was able to bring in another full-back.
But with ex-Arsenal defender Eboue poised to agree a short-term deal with Sunderland, that has changed the situation and allowed Matthews to leave the Stadium of Light.
The 24-year-old is expected to make his debut against Wolves tomorrow night.