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Don’t expect any major Atlanta United signings for at least a couple more weeks

Atlanta United have to follow the rules

MLS Atlanta Launch Event Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for MLS Atlanta

Silly season, as many call it, or the never-ending chaos of mostly baseless transfer rumors during the summer, is in full effect and Atlanta United is no exclusion. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen strong links to Mexican international Andrés Guardado and seemingly baseless rumors about Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Nicklas Bendtner. Regardless of who Atlanta United sign, any major players won’t be announced until at the earliest July 4th.

Major League Soccer has two transfer windows; the Primary Transfer Window (February 18 – May 11) and the Secondary Transfer Window (July 4 - August 3). This means that Atlanta United can only buy players during those dates. So if Atlanta United don’t sign any major players from July 4th to August 3rd, they will be stuck with signing players that are out of contract until the window reopens in February 2017.

Signing players during the summer can be tricky, though, especially players outside of MLS because their schedules don’t align with the rest of the world. For example, if Atlanta United were to sign Guardado in July, they would have to find a place to loan him to for six months so he could get playing time. In some cases, players don’t want to be loaned for such a short period or other clubs don’t want to sign a player for half a season.

At the same time, the summer window is the main transfer window for European clubs so they will be more likely to sell a player in the summer rather than during the middle of their season in the winter. If I had to speculate, I say Atlanta United will sign at least one major player in this window, but regardless it won’t happen until July 4th.

This scenario can be tricky for MLS front offices, but I have full faith that Darren Eales and the rest of the staff can navigate the world transfer market and make smart signings, no matter when they happen.