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Pineda: Jurgen Damm “not in the plans” for Atlanta United

Atlanta United is looking to move the Mexican winger Damm who was signed in 2020.

MLS: Concacaf Champions League-Philadelphia Union at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Jurgen Damm’s departure from Atlanta United has seemed near-certain for the last couple weeks since reports emerged that the team is looking to move the expensive winger who only played 183 league minutes in 2021.

Now, head coach Gonzalo Pineda has made it clear that the Mexican international is “not in the team’s plans” when he spoke with Mexican media this week while the team starts its preseason training camp in Guadalajara.

The video is in Spanish, but here’s the english translation of what Pineda said:

“At this moment he’s not in the team’s plans. At this time he’s training on his own - and we of course are grateful to Jurgen for what he has contributed to the team. At this time we are looking to go in a different direction. My hope is that la directiva [presumably a reference to Atlanta United Vice President Carlos Bocanegra] and his agent find the best thing for him.”

Damm arrives to Atlanta on a free transfer, but his incredibly hefty wages (he earned more than $1.5 million in guaranteed compensation in 2021) put a major strain on Atlanta’s salary budget. This salary means that Atlanta spend nearly $1 million in allocation money on Damm alone to have him on the roster.

Those wages are reportedly an issue in finding a new club. This report states that Chivas had interest in the player but were ultimately put off by the price of said wages.

Atlanta could plausibly buy-out the remainder of Damm’s contract at the expense of Arthur Blank pocketbook anytime prior to the start of the season. An example of such a situation occurred in 2019 when the LA Galaxy bought out Giovanni dos Santos’ contract the day before the roster compliance deadline. It makes sense that Atlanta will make every attempt to offload the player on a loan or free transfer before being forced into such a move.