Andres Guardado continues to be linked with Atlanta United. While most may have written him off over the summer, some are under the impression he’ll likely be making a move to Atlanta before the beginning of the 2017 season. Honestly, it seems like there are too many conflicting reports to make a sure prediction. Two weeks ago, we wrote an article saying Guardado was likely staying with PSV through the end of the season. Last Thursday, we saw rumors saying Atlanta United had given him an offer of $15 million over three years to join the club. Needless to say, a player of his caliber and marketability in Atlanta would be huge for the club.
Soccer journalist and freelance writer, Kristan Heneage, spoke with the Mouths of the South podcast last week and helped address the latest Guardado-to-Atlanta rumors.
“I actually got a tip a few months ago from a colleague in Holland saying that Guardado had been exploring his options for some time now and was interested in possibly relocating to be closer to his family,” Heneage said.
Atlanta is obviously not Mexico, but it certainly is a lot closer to his family than his current situation in The Netherlands.
“From what I’m hearing on the other end to fill that out, (Guardado) is definitely, 100 percent, a player that’s interesting Atlanta as a potential DP, and is someone to come into that midfield. He’s someone that Carlos Bocanegra has watched quite a lot, knows very well and is someone they believe is attainable, most importantly,” Heneage explained.
Heneage can’t yet confirm that both clubs have spoken, but he does believe PSV would not make it too difficult for Guardado to leave the team. And the more Atlanta United fills out their front office, the more enticing Atlanta United becomes to a player like Guardado.
“I think, from talking to these contacts in Holland, they’re pretty sure that (Guardado) is quite enthralled by the potential of Atlanta and the project itself in the same way we talk about Tata Martino being excited by the project. It would seem Guardado has similar feelings,” Heneage told MOTS.
PSV is currently participating in Champions League play. For some clubs, that would be enough to halt any transfer talks until the Champions League campaign was over. But, Guardado will be turn 30 soon and is moving into the last 18 months of his deal with PSV. From the club’s perspective, they’d certainly entertain transfer talks if they could get a decent deal for a player who likely won’t re-sign in order to move closer to his family. PSV also has quality players behind Guardado that would make losing him more bearable.
“It would be a situation that (Atlanta United) are trying to get resolved in time for January so that he has that preseason, so that he has that opportunity to work with the team,” Heneage added.
That timeline is important. Getting him in January helps the club in so many different ways. Paying for DPs now rather than building a team with the hopes of adding one later would be beneficial for Atlanta United. Let’s also not pretend Guardado’s marketability isn’t one of the top reasons Darren Eales and Bocanegra want the Mexican international. It would certainly be better to have that selling point at the beginning of the season rather than midway through.
While Heneage believes Guardado-to-Atlanta is happening, he’s certainly not discounting the uniqueness of MLS, nor the surprises that are sometimes presented during transfer windows.
“I think at this point, it’s 80 percent. I’m always pessimistic because this is not my first rodeo. I’ve seen deals come apart for some truly farcical reasons, but 80 percent is where I’m at at the minute, based on the fact that again, he would like it to happen. I think he wants to move back to North America and be closer to family. And also, it doesnt seem as if PSV are that unwilling to inhibit that for him.”
So how should you react to this? Cautious optimism.
I trust Heneage as a reporter, but like him, understand that “sure things” fall through all the time in the soccer world. Guardado would certainly be a welcomed addition to Atlanta United but the more important thing here is that Atlanta United is targeting the right players for the Atlanta market and the playing style of MLS.
You’ll be able to hear the whole interview on the Mouths of the South podcast next week.