Atlanta United President Darren Eales met with the media for the first time in 2022 on Wednesday to address an array of topics. Predictably, the subject of transfers was broached many times with the Englishman offering some updates on key players and their status with the club as it pertains to leaving or possibly arriving. Here’s every important transfer-related tidbit Eales spoke about in the nearly 30-minute media session:
Miles Robinson isn’t going anywhere
While the club usually keeps their cards close when it comes to transfers, they remain emphatic in regards to star defender Miles Robinson. Eales stated unequivocally that the club haven’t received any offers for the U.S. international and wouldn’t consider selling him right now if they did.
They may seem unreasonable on the surface, but when you consider how big of a season it will be for Miles personally, it makes perfect sense. Currently he’s in line to be a sure starter for the USMNT should it make this winter’s World Cup. If that comes to fruition and he performs up to his potential, his transfer value should increase immensely. So, while ensuring Miles has the chance to play at a high level is important, waiting for that right time to cash in is just smart business from Atlanta United.
Atlanta looking for ‘right offer’ for Bello
Eales admitted that there has been “a swirl of interest” surrounding left back George Bello. Unlike Robinson, the club would not stand in his way of going to Europe if “the right offer” comes along. It was rumored very early in the transfer window that Premier League club Watford had expressed interest in Bello. He’s also been linked to clubs like Galatasaray. The club have seen Andrew Gutman return from a loan to the Red Bulls and have just recently signed Caleb Wiley from their academy. So if Bello does depart the club they are well prepared to fill his vacancy within the squad.
Barco still an Atlanta United player ... for now
As you would expect, Darren wouldn’t go into specifics when the subject of Ezequiel Barco’s possible departure from the club goes. Rumors are swirling currently regarding a possible loan move for Barco to a few clubs in Brazil. Eales wouldn’t offer any update on whether or not the Argentine playmaker would leave. He only praised Barco’s time with the club and stated that he’s still an Atlanta United player.
Club ‘waiting on paperwork’ to conclude Erik Lopez loan
True to form, despite Argentine club Banfield already announcing the arrival of Erik Lopez on loan, Eales wouldn’t confirm the news. Instead he offered a vague nod to the rumor but did admit that the club is just waiting on the paperwork to go through to finalize a move. He also confirmed that if the move does materialize the club would open up a U-22 initiative roster slot that Lopez occupied.
Darren Eales on Erik Lopez: "You've got an idea of where he may be going to." Says paperwork must clear, and if it does, it will open up a U-22 spot.— Mike Conti (@MikeConti929) January 19, 2022
Minor Thiago Almada Update
Despite Velez Sarsfield announcing 45 days ago that it had agreed to a $16 million transfer with Atlanta United for Thiago Almada, the only thing confirmed by the club to date is that it holds an option on the promising Argentine’s transfer. Eales mentioned that the club do their due diligence on every player before agreeing to a transfer.
Jurgen Damm just wants to play soccer
Rumors have died down regarding Jurgen Damm’s possible departure from Atlanta. Early in the offseason there were some rumblings linking the former Mexican international with a move back to Liga MX. Eales wouldn’t rule out anything in regards to players leaving. He stated that Jurgen wants to play games and the club would do their best to make that happen whether it’s here or elsewhere.