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The Daily Dirt, January 28: Contractual Obligations

Josef Martinez might actually be headed to Atlanta, and United’s front office might be ahead of the game again

Jamaica v Venezuela: Group C - Copa America Centenario Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The rumor mill in Italy was churning hard last night about Josef Martinez and the likelihood of the Torino player joining Atlanta United. Some reports have him en route for a medical. The deal has also been reported as a “loan with an obligation to buy” in the summer. These types of deals are not uncommon (here’s an example from Chris Ashley on Twitter).

With the type of money that is being attached to these reports, Martinez would be the club’s third and final Designated Player. The “loan with an obligation to buy” situation could be a way to essentially give Martinez a trial before triggering the substantial transfer fee. It could also be a way to reduce his salary cap hit.

According to last year’s MLS Roster Rules and Regulations:

In 2016, a Designated Player that is 24-years-old or older during the league year will carry the Maximum Budget Charge ($457,500) unless the player joins his club after the opening of the Secondary Transfer Window, in which case his budget charge will be $228,750.

By waiting until the Secondary Transfer Window in the summer, Atlanta might be able to get Martinez on a lesser budget charge for 2017. I am not a capologist, but this could be a brilliant gaming of the system by the Atlanta front office and might explain the “loan with an obligation to buy” structure of the deal.

Martinez has shown in his career that he has an ability to play off of a central striker or play out wide and cut inside. His speed, combined with Miguel Almirón and Tito Villalba, will make Atlanta one of the fastest teams in MLS history. Martinez is also an addition with a knack for scoring goals, something that will help take the pressure off Kenwyne Jones if it comes to fruition.


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