After last week’s bombshell dropped, it was only a matter of time before the news became official. And lo, it has come to pass: Nashville SC defender Alistair Johnston is headed back to his home country in a major trade with CF Montreal.
From Club release:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Dec. 27, 2021) – Nashville Soccer Club announced today it has received $1,000,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) from CF Montréal in exchange for outside right back Alistair Johnston. Nashville SC is set to receive an additional 10% of any future transfer fee for the Canadian international.
“We would like to thank Alistair for his contributions to our organization, and we wish him success in the next step of his journey with Montréal.” – Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs
Johnston joined Nashville SC after being selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, presented by adidas. With 44 regular-season appearances, a goal and two assists in two seasons, Johnston was part of a defensive unit that conceded just 33 goals in 2021, tied for the fewest in MLS.
Johnston and the Nashville SC defense were tied for the league lead in shutouts in back-to-back seasons earning 13 in 2021 and nine in 2020. Nashville’s goals against average of 0.956 goals per game in 2020 was the best of any expansion club in league history.
At the international level, Johnston has received 18 caps since making his senior team debut with Canada Soccer on March 26, 2021.Nashville SC release
It doesn’t feel a ton more real even now, though a weekend to digest the news has certainly allowed the greater NSC-o-sphere to come to terms with it. Long story short: nobody is untradeable if the replacement price is lower than the value available on the trade market.
It’s not that simple, of course, and Mike Jacobs will almost certainly have to go hunting for a new right back (whether that’s a starter, or a top backup in the instance the technical staff is confident in Eric Miller to be a starter-caliber player at the position). That may very well be on his own roster – aside from Miller, there’s a strong likelihood that Koze Donasiyano can fill that role, for example – but replacing an outgoing starter is always necessary.
As for the money, I wouldn’t assume Nashville SC is stockpiling General Allocation Money for a splashy purpose so much as using it throughout the roster (and/or saving for a rainy day). But we know that Jacobs values GAM more than any other asset in roster-building, and he’ll find ways to make good use of it.