The former Sunderland star is entering his final year behind bars for child sex offences having seen his bid to overturn his conviction fail.
Upon release, he will be unable to pursue a lucrative career in the United States' Major League soccer due to the country's strict rules on allowing sex offenders into the country.
And most European clubs would also be off limits, leaving Johnson with the option to look into a move to the Middle East, China or even Turkey, according to the Sun.
Johnson, who earned £60,000-a-week before his conviction, no longer has an agent and his father, David, is managing his career.
A source said: 'He definitely wants to play again – but it is just a question of where and if anyone will pick him up.
'He's clearly a talented player and would get into many a team – even with a lengthy spell behind bars.
Johnson is currently locked up at HMP Moorland, near Doncaster.
He was jailed for six years in March 2016 for sexually abusing a teenage fan he groomed online.