Nagbe, 27, played with the club since the Timbers selected him 2nd overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. He compiled a commendable 27 goals and 30 assists in 214 appearances, and was named an MLS All-Star in 2016.
“Darlington was our top target in the league this offseason and we’re ecstatic to welcome him to our club,” said Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra in a club press release. “He is a perfect fit for our style of play as he has a dynamic ability to dribble out of trouble, maintain possession and make passes that bring additional players into the game.”
In exchange for the U.S. international, Portland has received a record-breaking amount of allocation monies to bolster their roster. In full, the Timbers will receive $650,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) in 2018, $100,000 in GAM in 2019, $300,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) and a 2018 international roster spot. It has also been reported that several lofty incentives have been added onto the end of the deal that would net Portland even more money should Nagbe’s performance warrant it.
Those would include things like hefty goals and assists production or even winning the MLS MVP award.
Wondering what will trigger that $600k in future TAM? Per sources I trust...— Andrew Wiebe (@andrew_wiebe) December 13, 2017
$150k - League MVP
$100k - 12 goals or more
$100k - 15 or more assists
$250k - Top 3 in MLS points + ATL win MLS Cup
Atlanta also gets defender Gbenga Arokoyo in the deal but it is widely expected they’ll cut his contract using an exemption.
Nagbe brings a modest amount of international experience, with 24 caps for the USMNT since 2015. 14 of those have come this year, as he was apart of the 2017 Gold Cup-winning side.
The first question that comes to mind is what position Nagbe will play under Tata Martino. Although he spent a majority of the time on the left wing last season with Portland, Nagbe also started about a third of his matches in the holding midfield. This move could either fill the hole left by Yamil Asad if the Ezequiel Barco signing falls through or he could play in the midfield next to Miguel Almiron and one of Jeff Larentowicz or Carlos Carmona.
Regardless, Nagbe is set to be a key player in a loaded lineup. Let’s see what Martino has up his sleeve.
Welcome to Atlanta, Darlington!