FanPost

Gressel: "I don’t want to get upset, so I don’t want to talk about it."

That was Gressel's response when recently asked if there was any progress being made on his new contract...

I hope Gressel stays, but Atlanta United screwed-up by negotiating the Robinson contract without being even close to an agreement with Gressel (same draft class). Granted, Robinson is a once in a generation type defender that should be a long-time contributor to the organization. But Gressel has been (and should continue to be) one of the (if not the) most productive facilitator in our pressing attack. In fact, the Gressel/Martinez duo was more prolific than any other MLS scoring combination over the past two seasons.

Gressel has proven his ability to play whatever role is demanded of him and he played patiently through this season while the team has been silent on their long-term plans for him. I'm guessing that quiet moment between Nagbe and Gressel was as much about sentiment as it was about commonality in their frustration with how the FO has treated them. If we are really going to see a wholesale rebuilding of the roster this off-season, and with the recent announcement of Nagbe being traded, the team better lock-up Gressel quickly. With the expected departure of several high dollar players (including Nagbe), the FO can't point to a lack of cap space as a reason for delay.

If I'm JG's agent, and my client isn't under a new contract when CBA negotiations stall I'm heading to Europe to pitch him as if he were a free agent (no transfer fee). I've written elsewhere about FIFA's generally unfavorable view of unilateral contract options and that these options have been successfully challenged multiple times over the years. FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport have established in a majority of these challenges that the unilateral option is inconsistent with FIFA's principles of contractual freedom and equality. This is especially true in situations like Gressel’s, where the salary escalation established in the player’s contract is not equitable (when the athlete's contribution is taken into consideration). MLS does not want to have this type of high profile dispute with FIFA and a European club while MLS is trying to negotiate a new CBA with the players union.

I've watched Gressel play since his Providence days (he single-handedly ruined my team's chance at advancing to the NCAA title game) and I've been a fan since he was acquired by Atlanta. I would love to see him stay with us for several more years, but Gressel doesn't owe our organization anything more than he has already given. If the FO is not going to recognize his contribution with a new contract prior to next season, they need to negotiate a transfer that positions him for success and gets him paid...

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