Josef Martinez may finally be close to his exit from Atlanta United.
According to MLS reporter Tom Bogert, Atlanta has held “serious talks” with Inter Miami over a possible transfer for the former MLS MVP and Golden Boot winner.
This follows reporting from The Athletic after the season that Martinez had an intent to leave the club after dismal recent seasons on and off the pitch since his ACL tear in 2020.
Terms for this deal were always going to be a spot of conflict. Atlanta United will want to receive a return that is publicly respectable and representative of the status the player held as a figure at the club. But any suitor will be wary of Martinez’s health and recent form.
Martinez has battled knee pain since an ACL surgery — complicated by infections — interrupted his career in February 2020. He returned in 2021 clearly unfit and, with the knee still bothering him throughout the season, had a follow-up procedure early in the 2022 season.
Despite the injury issues, Josef has never fallen into complete impotence. Despite his surgery that interrupted his season for the better part of two months, Josef still scored 9 goals and registered 4 assists in just 1500 minutes.
For its own part, Miami is entering its own new era after the retiring of the Higuain brothers. Josef would be an extremely marketable figure anywhere he goes, but Miami certainly seems like an ideal place for his star to shine.
The deal could pick up pace quickly. Atlanta United has been the busiest team in MLS the last week or so, with multiple outgoing deals in progress including big name players like Alan Franco and Marcelino Moreno.