Montreal Impact's Nick De Santis: Davy Arnaud "gave us everything we needed from a captain"

Davy Arnaud

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USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Impact’s first captain as an MLS club is gone, but everyone found their happy ending.

Out of contract and eligible for the Re-Entry Draft, veteran midfielder Davy Arnaud was nevertheless traded to D.C. United on Tuesday for an international roster spot for 2014 and 2015. Arnaud thus relinquished the skipper’s armband after two seasons, but the trade only confirmed what was bound to happen, Impact sporting director Nick De Santis told MLSsoccer.com.

“Given his salary, renegotiating would have been required, but it would have been tricky,” De Santis said via phone on Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t think Davy would have signed for just one year. He wanted a bit more stability. We had a great discussion at the season’s end, and both parties understood where we were going.”

According to De Santis, Arnaud, 33, wasn’t playing as much as he wished in the closing stages of the season – notably sitting out the Impact’s 3-0 playoff loss altogether – and had to think about his post-retirement career, which was always going to take place in the United States.

“He spoke of different teams that were interested, and we were there with him, looking at what the best possible situation was,” De Santis said. “D.C. offered him a two-year deal, which made him comfortable.”

Both clubs feel comfortable as well: D.C. hold onto the first pick in this Thursday’s Re-Entry Draft, while Montreal free up salary-cap room for some expensive options on players for 2014 – Arnaud was Montreal’s fourth-best paid player in 2013 – and create roster room for younger midfield players and grab an international spot.

“We have international players at important positions,” De Santis said. “We benefit from having this spot for two years whether we use it or not: We were losing Davy anyway.”

And it’s a good pick-up for United, believes De Santis, who feels Montreal’s former captain will fulfill an important role there. In Montreal, meanwhile, deciding on a new captain will fall upon the head coach when that dust settles, and the Impact will wish that Arnaud’s successor continues his legacy.

“For two years, Davy gave us everything we needed from a captain,” De Santis said. “Important goals – the first in MLS, the first last season in Seattle – that pulled us in the right direction, leadership on and off the field, implication in our community, in our culture – he learned French.

“He did everything to be a good captain for the Montreal Impact, so we must thank him and wish him the best.”