Grading Nashville SC’s summer transfer window

Nashville SC’s business in the MLS Secondary Transfer Window consisted of the much-anticipated signing of striker Sam Surridge, as well as the outgoing transfer of midfielder Ján Greguš

Surridge joins from English Premier League side Nottingham Forest for a reported $6.44 million, and represents the club’s third attempt to fill one of its Designated Player spots with a goal-scoring forward.

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Meanwhile, the departure of Greguś comes after a short and ultimately inconsequential period in Nashville for the former Minnesota United Designated Player. He will return to his former club in Minnesota, with Nashville receiving in return $75,000 in 2024 General Allocation Money and Minnesota’s natural second round draft pick in 2024.

The Broadway Sports Media soccer braintrust have compiled their reviews for the ‘Yotes’ summer transfer window.

Chris Ivey: B-

Nashville got, by all accounts, their #1 target at the clearest position of need. However, the delay in wrapping up the deal gives Surridge little time to integrate before the stretch run. No “A” grade as the U22 slot remains empty, the midfield continues to age, and no natural RB depth sits behind Shaq.

Valair Shabilla: B

Convincing Sam Surridge to join Nashville and paying a high transfer fee is really good business. He fills a glaring hole in the squad and is pretty much a starter immediately.

The rest of the window is meh at best. Really underwhelming in terms of taking risks and lowering the age of the squad. The midfield needs work and they can do with another full back. Greguš was a clear surplus and it’s honestly shocking that they were able to get anything for him.

Josh Young: C-

Nashville SC fulfilled the bare minimum requirement of signing a new DP number 9, but did it in the most annoying way possible by letting it drag out for long enough that he’ll have little, if any, chance to get incorporated during Leagues Cup – though perhaps the prospects for that have improved after an upset win in the Round of 16 in Cincinnati.

The barely-passing grade isn’t a comment on Sam Surridge. There’s a lot to like in the profile of the signing; young, pedigreed, seemingly the right fit for Gary Smith’s system. But the other piece of business (Greguś’ departure) only highlights the inability to provide an additional progressive passing option out of midfield. We’re all enjoying the Daxaissance, but there’s still no one aside from the 36 year-old veteran with passing creativity in that area – on the ball, in general play, every other option is a minus in that regard. 

Meanwhile, the club has seen fit to continue on without any natural fullbacks to back up Dan Lovitz and Shaq Moore. Taylor Washington remains a sentimental fan favorite, but there’s a significant drop off from Dan Lovitz to him, particularly in a back four. And now, a second transfer window has passed with Shaq Moore as the only right back on the roster. Losing either starting fullback would pretty much feel like a death sentence come playoff time.

Ben Wright: B-

Surridge looks like an almost perfect fit for Nashville. His profile makes a ton of sense for Gary Smith’s system, he’s capable of more variety than either Cádiz or Loba, and he should be able to adapt and communicate quickly. Not getting him in early in the window is a negative, missing out on Leagues Cup as a vital window to get him adjusted before the final 10 games of the season. But overall, it’s a solid signing that could turn into a lot more.

As far as Greguš, I guess flipping a free agent for $75k GAM and a draft pick makes some financial sense, but Greguš should have had a much bigger impact than he did. I thought he’d come in and be the second-best passer in midfield, but he never really got a chance to make an impact. Nashville have an awful lot of the same profile in midfield. Greguš never really broke in, but he was at least a different type of option.

They really needed to bring in a backup right back. Honestly, they should have kept Eric Miller in town. The fact that Smith has to switch to a back five whenever Shaq Moore isn’t on the field is wild.

It’s also a huge miss not to try and bring in a young midfielder of a similar profile to Dax McCarty. I may be in the minority, but I think McCarty has been exceptional this season, and has been arguably Nashville’s most important player behind Hany Mukhtar. He’s 36, though. His time is running out.

For as much as Nashville preaches about the best talent being available in the summer, they just kicked the can down the road to the winter window, when they will absolutely need to make signings. They took care of their biggest need, but perhaps missed an opportunity to make the team elite instead of just good.

What do you think of Nashville SC’s summer transfer window? Did they do enough to earn a passing grade? Let us know in the comments.

Author: Josh Youngis a soccer obsessive and cohost of the very unserious Nashville SC fan podcast Paradise Pod. He will try to keep the silliness in podcast form and write more analytically here, but we can’t promise anything. Josh attended Middle Tennessee State University before making his way up to Nashville. He’s a snowboarder, hobbyist musician, decent tennis player, and extremely amateur home bartender. He is atoning for sins in a past life by suffering through Tottenham Hotspur fandom in this one. There’s a good chance that as you’re reading this he’s starting a rewatch of The Sopranos.

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