Scottish champions Celtic are reportedly eyeing up a move for Canada international Alistair Johnston, as Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou seeks to further strengthen his backline in the winter window.
According to The Scottish Sun, the Old Firm outfit are said to be ‘weighing up’ a move for the 24-year-old in the New Year, with the Parkhead giants having only recently bolstered the backline with the signing of Japanese centre-back, Yuki Kobayashi.
The suggestion is that Johnston – who joined current side CF Montreal for £800k last December – could well be a replacement for Josip Juranovic at right-back, with the latter man having been tipped for a departure in recent times.
The report reveals that Postecoglou is said to be an ‘admirer’ of the 31-cap sensation, with the former Yokohama Marinos boss having already admitted that he is eyeing up a “couple” of additions in the New Year.
Adding Johnston to the Glasgow side’s ranks could well prove to be yet another coup for the Bhoys, with the Vancouver-born machine having been in impressive form at club level in recent times, scoring four goals and laying on four assists in his 33 MLS outings this year from his wing-back berth.
That talent has also been replicated on the international stage with the defender now “starring” in Qatar, according to Transfermarkt’s Manuel Veth, with the former Nashville man – who can also operate at centre-back if required – having impressed on his World Cup debut against Belgium on Wednesday evening.
Despite the eventual 1-0 defeat, as the Red Devils sealed the points through Michy Batshuayi, the 5 foot 11 ace showcased his quality in his role on the right of a back three, notably recording three key passes from his 65 touches as a sign of his attacking intent, while also registering a shot on target.
The forward-thinking asset was also firmly up for the challenge against the likes of Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne having recorded two tackles on the night, with his solid match rating of 6.6, as per SofaScore, having perhaps not been a true reflection of his overall performance.
Having put in a ‘blood and thunder performance‘ – in the words of 90min’s Chris Smith – Johnston seemingly lived up to his own assessment as being a touch-tackling and ferocious asset, having revealed his love for a battle following his Ice Hockey roots:
“I played hockey competitively in the winter and then soccer in the summer, and I was always known as a guy who loved to bodycheck and to hit guys. I’ve always loved the feeling of just laying someone out, as crazy as that sounds, and I just brought that attitude into soccer.
“I love a good tackle to this day. Nothing gets me more excited [than] if I get clattered into by an opponent or I clatter into him and it’s clean and the guy starts pushing me back.”
Not just a no-nonsense talent, however, the full-back also offers a threat in an attacking sense, with that showcased by the fact that he ranks in the top 1% in his position for assists, as per FBref, as well as in the top 9% for dribbles completed.
That all-round quality could well make Johnston an astute capture as far as those at Celtic Park are concerned, with Postecoglou likely to be keeping a close eye on how he continues to perform on the global arena.