Eyebrows were raised on Sunday when reports from Italy stated that Miguel Almiron is a subject of interest from both Inter Milan and Arsenal. We all knew that our beloved Miggy was a highly rated young talent. He didn’t waltz into the top spot of MLSSoccer.com’s 24 under 24 list for no reason. But, actually seeing the credible rumors is a bit startling.
Unfortunately, I’m not here to ease your concerns over losing Miggy. On the contrary, I’m going to be the bearer of some bad news. Miguel Almiron is not long for Atlanta. I’m not an insider. I have no “In The Know” information of any kind. However, looking at the facts, it’s easy to see that Atlanta United have themselves a young, talented, and seasoned star that will be desired by many teams around the world.
Unlike in most professional American sports, it’s not as simple as out-paying your competition to keep your best players. When it comes to Major League Soccer, there are other factors involved. Like it or not, MLS is viewed — and rightly so — as a stepping stone in a player’s career. A place where a young player can come and hone his skills in an effort to move on to bigger and better things. That’s exactly where Almiron is right now. He’s honing away in Atlanta and doing a damn fine job. Eventually, it’ll be time to take that next step.
Whether it’s to Italy, England, Spain, or wherever, smart money is on Miggy not being long for Atlanta. Darren Eales and Atlanta United’s technical staff will undoubtedly have offers thrown at them left and right. Thankfully for Atlanta United fans, the real “stars” of the club so far have been the front office themselves. While Atlanta United might be able to replace Miguel Almiron on the field, club executives know they need to keep the front office together. That’s why giving Carlos Bocanegra a promotion and long-term contract is so crucial to the team’s future.
Don’t get me wrong. Watching Miggy, Josef Martinez, Tito Villalba, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Yamil Asad, et al play every week has been a treat. But let’s remember who assembled this team from scratch and formed a playoff team. There’s no reason at all that we as followers of Atlanta United shouldn’t have total faith that the same front office that assembled this roster will make the best decisions possible for the long term future of it.
The technical staff will have some huge decisions to make. If and when they choose to take the money and let Miggy go on to bigger things, their splendid record of signings so far show they will do their best to find an adequate replacement that will help Atlanta United win in the future.
At the risk of sounding like an Atlanta United propaganda pamphlet, if you’re supporting a team because of a player, you’re setting yourself up for inevitable pain. Yes, we all love the players in the shirt, but it’s important to love the shirt more. We’ve seen one side of Atlanta United’s transfer policy get them to the playoffs in year one. There’s no reason to fret about the other shoe dropping and those players leaving because more will surely follow.
Miggy may leave. Josef and Tito too. Atlanta United will remain and as long as Arthur Blank, Darren Eales, and company are here calling the shots, the club is in great hands and there’s no need to panic if a top player leaves.