Celtic transfer news: Alistair Johnston joins Celtic – Montréal star most valuable defender in MLS

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Deal nearing completion  

This article first appeared on Nov. 23 and has been updated with new information. 

Celtic FC have signed Canadian men’s national team star Alistair Johnston from CF Montréal. Originally reported by Transfermarkt Celtic have announced the deal on Saturday. TM understands that the deal is around €3.5m plus significant add-ons. Johnston represented his country at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar and was a standout player for Montréal all season

Johnston was also linked with a move to Italian side Bologna, a club also owned by the Saputo family, who owns the Major League Soccer club in Montréal. But Celtic moved fast to get a deal between the player and the MLS club agreed on during the tournament and with Canada now eliminated were able to announce the transfer. A move to Scotland is straightforward for Johnston as he holds a UK passport on top of his Irish and Canadian citizenship. 

Celtic, in the meantime, have secured one of the top defenders in MLS. Johnston can play both right-back and center-back, and with a market value of €6 million, he is the joint most valuable defender in MLS with LA Galaxy’s Julián Araujo (overview). Johnston is considered the perfect replacement for Josip Juranovic, who Celtic are looking to sell this winter. 

With Alistair Johnston – The most valuable MLS players

Alistair Johnston | CF Montréal | Market value: €6m

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Djordje Mihailovic | CF Montréal | Market value: €6m

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Julián Araujo | LA Galaxy | Market value: €6m

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Ismaël Koné | CF Montréal | Market value: €6m

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Efraín Álvarez | LA Galaxy | Market value: €6m

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Jhon Durán | Chicago Fire | Market value: €6m

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Ryan Gauld | Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Market value: €6.5m

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Dániel Sallói | Sporting Kansas City | Market value: €6.5m

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Cristian Arango | LAFC | Market value: €7m

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Lucas Zelarayán | Columbus Crew | Market value: €7m

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Brandon Vazquez | FC Cincinnati | Market value: €7m

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Riqui Puig | LA Galaxy | Market value: €7m

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Federico Bernardeschi | Toronto FC | Market value: €8m

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Brenner | FC Cincinnati | Market value: €8m

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Facundo Torres | Orlando City SC | Market value: €8m

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Jesús Ferreira | FC Dallas | Market value: €8m

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Alan Velasco | FC Dallas | Market value: €8m

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Gabriel Slonina | Chicago Fire FC | Market value: €8m

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Emanuel Reynoso | Minnesota United FC | Market value: €10m

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Cucho Hernández | Columbus Crew | Market value: €10m

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Hany Mukhtar | Nashville SC | Market value: €12m

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José Cifuentes | Los Angeles FC | Market value: €12m

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Lorenzo Insigne | Toronto FC | Market value: €15m

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Sebastián Driussi | Austin FC | Market value: €15m

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Thiago Almada | Atlanta United FC | Market value: $15m

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Talles Magno | New York City FC | Market value: €15m

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Johnston to Celtic – Montréal defender has seen market value rise 

Johnston’s rise in recent years, in fact, has been phenomenal. Drafted out of college by Nashville SC in 2020, Johnston was traded to Montréal for around €900,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) ahead of the 2022 season. At Montréal, Johnston has managed four goals and four assists in 39 games across all competitions in 2022. 

Davies at the top – The 15 most valuable CanMNT players

Maxime Crépeau | LAFC | Market value: €3m

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Liam Millar | Basel | Market value: €3m

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Mark-Anthony Kaye | Toronto FC | Market value: €3m

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Jonathan Osorio | Toronto FC | Market value: €3.5m

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Ayo Akinola | Toronto FC | Market value: €3.5m

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Kamal Miller | CF Montréal | Market value: €4m

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Ike Ugbo | ESTAC Troyes | Market value: €4m

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Jayden Nelson | Toronto FC | Market value: €4m

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Alistair Johnston | CF Montréal | Market value: €6m

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Cyle Larin | Brugge | Market value: €6m

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Ismaël Koné | CF Montréal | Market value: €6m

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Stephen Eustaquio | Porto | Market value: €8m

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Tajon Buchanan | Brugge | Market value: €12m

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Jonathan David | LOSC Lille | Market value: €45m

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Alphonso Davies | Bayern Munich | Market value: €70m

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“I’m delighted,” Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou said in a club statement. “He’s someone we identified pretty early on as somebody we think can add to our club. He’s had an interesting career path where he’s had to work very hard to get to where he is, and we’re very happy to conclude the deal and knowing he was going to the World Cup, I think he performed well there as well.”


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