Atlanta United made three key signings during the summer transfer window and finally took a few significant steps toward filling their inaugural roster for the 2017 MLS season. Despite the key additions, there were still some supporters of the club worried that only one Designated Player, Hector Villalba, had been inked by the club.
While it’s certainly true that the majority of MLS DP’s are signed during the summer window, all hope is not lost for United to go shopping for impact players this winter. Currently there are 48 designated players (not counting Villalba) in MLS. 18 of them were acquired in some fashion during the winter months. That comes out to about 38 percent of DP’s being signed in the winter. A few notable names acquired in the winter transfer window include:
David Accam, Steven Gerrard, Sacha Kljestan, Maurice Edu, Diego Valeri, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco, and Pedro Morales
The world soccer transfer market is as wide as it is deep. Players and clubs are constantly battling one another and situations arise all the time that force transfers. Atlanta United will undoubtedly be scouring the world for the right type of DP signing to complement their roster.
Even if the club aren’t pursuing the household names you were hoping for, there are plenty of impact players out there to be had. Players like Accam, Valeri, and Morales were relatively unknown to most fans when they were brought into the league, but you won’t find many clubs who wouldn’t love to have them on their rosters.
Atlanta currently has one DP under contract. We don’t have to go too far back in history to find an example of what to expect when the team enters the league. Back in 2015, Orlando City entered their inaugural season with all three DP slots filled, while NYCFC had two of three and then signed Andre Pirlo in the summer.
As soon as MLS Cup is decided in early December, expect the signings and acquisitions to begin happening thick and rapid. Whether or not another DP comes into the fold remains to be seen, but the stats tell us that there will be options out there for Atlanta United to pick up if they so choose. And history tells us it’s likely that that at least sign one more before March.