Darlington Nagbe’s arrival in Atlanta will undoubtedly shock people around the league, but down in the capital of the Peach State, fans and players alike will be unable to contain their excitement.
Nagbe’s popularity is widely known and it should come as no surprise when he becomes a fan favorite instantly, but his dynamic ability on the field is what really sets him apart from most signings.
The 27-year-old made his name in Major League Soccer over the years with the Portland Timbers, playing on the both the left-wing and as a playmaker in the midfield. While Nagbe does have the talent to headline an MLS team, his move to Atlanta will see him play a supporting role to the likes of Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez.
Atlanta’s attacking pieces have already shown the damage they can cause in this league, but by adding Nagbe into what is likely going to be a pivot alongside Carlos Carmona or Jeff Larentowicz, it becomes a lot more daunting for opposing defenses.
With Almiron, Martinez, Tito Villalba and the possible arrival of youngster Ezequiel Barco, Nagbe is destined to the be the 5th attacking option for Atlanta, which is quite remarkable to think about. The midfielder’s deep-lying role with his new side should free up the vast amounts of attacking quality in front of him, making Atlanta even more dangerous in attack.
Not only does Nagbe offer playmaking from a number 8 role, but his reliability when moving the ball is crucial for Atlanta’s style of play. The American international may be one of the league’s best at carrying the ball past players and keeping possession, making him the perfect fit under Tata Martino in Atlanta.
He’s an intelligent player that understands whatever role he’s given and the change of scenery could be just what he needs in the prime of his career.
The signing of Darlington Nagbe is a huge step for Atlanta as they aim to build upon the success of their debut season in Major League Soccer. His ability to fit into multiple positions, coupled with the perfect scenario for him to thrive, gives plenty of hope for Atlanta United moving forward. There will be games where he’ll star, but there will be games where he’ll pull the strings from deep and the superstars in front of him will take over. If you thought Atlanta’s first season was fun, wait until the second season.