My experience of seeing him play is pretty limited. I remember him setting the league alight in his first Premier League season with Crystal Palace. A lot of those 22 goals came from penalties and there was much discussion about how easily he went down in the box. He looked pretty sharp when he played against us at the Cottage. He scored (a penalty of course) but faded as the game went on and we recorded a comfortable 3-1 win. Since moving to Everton he's stayed on his feet a lot more and has (appropriately) seen a subsequent drop in his goals tally. In fact looking at his last six seasons (even allowing for the difference in quality between leagues) there is a clear decline in his goal totals.
2002-03 C.Palace Championship 14 goals
2003-04 C.Palace Championship 32 goals - Promoted
2004-05 C.Palace Premier League 22 goals - Relegated & England debut
2005-06 C.Palace Championship 17 goals - Lost in playoff final
2006-07 Everton Premier League 12 goals
2007-08 Everton Premier League 10 goals
If his transfer fee was lower I don't think this would seem as quite so big an issue.
Playing for Everton he was one of maybe four contenders for a starting place, at Palace he was probably the first name on the team sheet. Moving to Fulham might give him that status again and provide greater opportunity to show the league what he's got. However, when a fee is reported of £10.7Million it's not surprising we fans start to get a little agitated.
For one thing there's a feeling we're being ripped off. Everton paid £8.6Million for him back in 2006 and there's not much evidence to suggest he's improved in that time. He has added to his England caps but is a long way from being considered one of the prime squad members. There's also the concern that the last time we spent this much money - and if the figure is true we are looking at a total that is only £300k below our all-time record fee - it all went horribly wrong. Steve Marlet wasn't a bad player per-say but he struggled to shrug off the expectations of an enormous transfer fee. For a club of our size to pay so much money suggests high expectations at management and board level which AJ can only really meet by scoring a lot of goals.
Should it really matter to us what price the club pay? Should it affect our judgement of how good a player is? I think it does matter. I think it is fair to have greater expectations of a player that cost £10Million compared to a player that cost £3Million. That said I'm happy to leave these decisions in the hands of Roy Hodgson. If he thinks Johnson is worth that sort of money then I'm content to accept that he is. Roy has talked of building a squad of 20 or so core players, increasing the quality so that any of those players are capable of performing for us, reducing the number of fringe players who aren't up to scratch and looking for players who are intelligent users of the ball. These are exciting times again. We earned a reprieve from certain relegation and now we're doing our best to make sure that doesn't happen again. If AJ completes his move I hope he plays a big part in doing just that.