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Report: George Bello nearing Atlanta United departure before close of transfer window

Atlanta United has reportedly accepted a transfer proposal from Belgian side Cercle Brugge, though personal terms are yet to be agreed and Bundesliga club Arminia Bielefeld is in the mix.

SOCCER: AUG 22 MLS Nashville SC at Atlanta United FC Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UPDATE [9:51, January 30, 2022]

According to transfer godfather Fabrizio Romano, the George Bello transfer saga looks to completed.

After Atlanta United initially accepted a transfer offer of $3.75 million after incentives and bonuses from Belgian club Cercle Brugge, reports on Twitter on Saturday stated Bello favored a move to Bundesliga club Arminia Bielefeld.

It’s notable that the Arminia Bielefeld transfer fee is significantly less than the Cercle Brugge’s offer, but the 25% sell on clause could make up for the difference and quite possibly make Atlanta United more money should Bello eventually move on to another club in the future.

Dirty South Soccer will continue to post updates.


It appears that George Bello’s long awaited transfer to a European club is imminent, with Fabrizio Romano tweeting early Saturday that Atlanta United has accepted an offer from Cercle Brugge for a permanent transfer of $3.75 million after incentives and bonuses.

But this situation is developing in real time, with at least one other club, Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld, jumping into the mix.

The state of play as we understand it appears to be as such:

  • Atlanta United has accepted the best transfer bid currently on the table, which is from Cercle Brugge per the terms reported from Paul Tenorio at The Athletic.
  • Bello prefers either the personal terms with Arminia Bielefeld and/or the opportunity to play in the Bundesliga. Both Atlanta United and Bello must agree before the move can be completed.
  • Something that we may have expected but now have more reporting on is Bello’s current contract terms with Atlanta United, which expires at the end of this year. This might mean that clubs could offer Bello a pre-contract this summer once he has six months or less remaining, leaving Atlanta with either no transfer income or a small fee. This situation understandably limits Atlanta’s bargaining position in negotiations.

Bello had been rumored earlier this month to be of interests to Watford FC in the Premier League, though the club has continued to struggle and since fired manager Claudio Ranieri. There is also at least one other team reportedly interested in acquiring Bello before the transfer window in continental Europe slams shut at the end of January.

Bello is Atlanta United’s model for the Homegrown player. He rose through the academy ranks, signed a professional contract with the first team, played with Atlanta United 2, and eventually became the team’s first choice left back. He’s made a total of 53 appearances for Atlanta United and has registered three goals and four assists.

Bello enjoyed a successful 2021 on the international stage as well, making his USMNT debut in January 2021. He eventually forced his way into the starting lineup for the USMNT in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, starting in the final and defeating Mexico.

At the time of writing, Cercle Brugge sits in seventh place in the Jupiler Pro League with 34 points from 24 games. Royale Union Saint-Gilloise leads the league with 54 points.

This is a developing situation and Dirty South Soccer will update this post as more information comes to light.