The mystery surrounding Darlington Nagbe’s absence from Atlanta United’s first two preseason friendlies could have a dramatic conclusion.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation have confirmed to Dirty South Soccer that the veteran midfielder wants out to be traded to Columbus Crew SC.
Why the Crew specifically? One main reason is Caleb Porter. The new manager in Columbus has an extremely close relationship with Nagbe. Porter managed Nagbe at both Akron University and with the Portland Timbers. Another possible reason could be that Columbus is near Nagbe’s hometown of Lakewood, Ohio.
Nagbe was an influential part of Atlanta’s run to winning MLS Cup in 2018. Doug Roberson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the 28-year-old arrived a day late to the team’s preseason training camp in Los Angeles. That coupled with his noticeable lack of involvement with the first team preparing for the Concacaf Champions League cast doubt over the player’s status in Frank de Boer’s squad.
Nagbe was a major acquisition for the Five Stripes last offseason. The club reportedly spent between $600k-$1m in combined allocation monies to acquire the U.S. international. If a deal is to be made with Columbus, Atlanta’s brass will not let him go cheaply.
The situation appears to be heading towards an interesting conclusion with Nagbe wanting out and the club approaching a crucial part of their season.