Nashville SC

Nashville SC signs Ján Greguš

Ján Greguš photo courtesy MLS

Nashville SC has added a reinforcement. 32-year old veteran midfielder Ján Greguš, who has played in Czechia and Slovakia for much of his career, but spent the past four years in MLS, with Minnesota United for three years before spending 2022 with San Jose Earthquakes. He has been training with Nashville since preseason began.

He has played primarily as a No. 8-style central midfielder, but he can also slide back and be a holder as a No. 6 (likely his primary implementation with Nashville) or forward to be a No. 10. His statistical profile – 15.21 xGoal contributions, mostly assisting, in about two season’s worth of minutes – shows that he’s a solid attacking player who doesn’t need to provide end product to be effective.

Over that time, he’s basically bang-average according to ASA‘s Goals Added in basically every breakout metric: +0.75 in dribbling over more than 7300 minutes (10th among defensive midfielders, just three spots ahead of Dax McCarty), not notable in fouling or shooting. He’s a near-elite interruptor and passer out of the spot, and it’s worth noting that he’s significantly more ambitious in the passing game than most of NSC’s central midfielders: 80.4% xPass, which he did outperform by a couple points in 2021, though it’s worth noting that last season with San Jose he was a safer passer. Nashville DMs have xPass numbers in the mid-to-high 80s. Greguš has been a non-entity in getting into scoring positions for himself, with a very low receiving breakout in G+ (and while you can see he does have a hammer in the highlights above, the shooting success in non-highlight contexts is less impressive).

At 6-3, he has good height and that may raise questions about whether he can contribute at centerback, which is obviously a position where Nashville recently lost Nick DePuy for the season. I would not anticipate that he does so regularly unless it’s in a Dax McCarty-style DM who drops into the middle for a makeshift back three (Wes discussed the position on this week’s pod). Despite that height he’s been pretty poor in aerial duels over time, and that’s fairly important to how NSC plays.

He was a DP when he signed with Minnesota, and just below the DP threshold for San Jose last year. Given the fact that he couldn’t land a gig until a month into the season, I would imagine Nashville is getting him on a much budget-friendlier cap hit than that. A guy who’s got DP potential (even if he hasn’t always lived up to it) on a non-DP salary is always a good thing. For what it’s worth, he has four Slovakia caps, most recently in November 2020.

His fit into the lineup is interesting for all those reasons, especially given that Gary Smith mentioned yesterday that Aníbal Godoy’s recovery is going more quickly than expected. Sort of a utility guy who can play anywhere in midfield (including attacking positions) and allow NSC to get attack from more areas makes sense… but where’s the playing time for that role? We shall see, perhaps as soon as tomorrow.

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