Does Atlanta need a superstar DP?

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

By the time Atlanta United joins MLS in 2017, it will have been a decade since David Beckham came to the USA propelling MLS into the consciousness of world soccer fans. For quite some time there has been a stigma surrounding MLS that it is a retirement league for once-great European stars looking for a big final paycheck, and many (like Denilson or Rafa Marquez) don't perform to the level expected of them.

A lot of the chatter around Atlanta United fans has been what big name will sign for the club, but would it be worth the risk? Players like Zlatan or, god forbid, John Terry are on the wrong side of 35 and though both are extremely accomplished, certainly couldn't contribute as much as fans would like. It would be a big risk for Arthur Blank and the organization to take the plunge on a big name, big paycheck player, and though it would almost certainly mean big jersey sales and hype, would the on-field production be good enough? Acquiring a good player in their prime like Giovinco in Toronto would be the ideal solution, but there's a very good reason why he's one of the only players in that situation.

Personally it would seem that the most cost-effective and reasonable solution would be to focus instead on developing younger players that would have much longer careers than older European giants. This too is a risk, of course, and much less exciting, but gambling on a young player at the very least guarantees more years of service. United has the potential to groom promising southern American stars, seeing as the team is the only one in the south (unless you count Florida as southern, which I don't). Loyalty is a huge x-factor, and having players that feel close to the club because of it's geographic location would certainly help for a club in its infancy.

This situation is totally out of the control of the fans, and though it is much more romantic to imagine wearing a #10 Zlatan jersey, it would be worth passing up if the club had a better chance of making the playoffs consistently. Right now we're playing the waiting game with Atlanta United, but hopefully whatever decision the club makes is the right one.


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