Atlanta United fans have dealt with their fair share of loss the past four years. The brutal reality of inevitable roster overturn has hit the fanbase hard, starting in 2019 when the beloved star Miguel Almiron left for a big-money move to England. The dominoes continued to fall over the years leaving Miles Robinson as the sole remaining member of the roster that debuted against the Red Bulls at Bobby Dodd in 2017.
All signs are pointing toward Robinson being yet another fan-favorite to depart the Five Stripes very soon. Atlanta’s second overall MLS SuperDraft pick in 2017 has not accepted a contract extension offer from the club and looks set to let his current deal run out after this season. While fans understandably have a vast array of emotions in relation to the possibility of Robinson leaving, the situation is a complex one.
Attempting to look at it from an unbiased viewpoint, Miles has achieved nearly every goal possible in MLS. From winning two major trophies (and a not-so-major one) to being named to an All-Star team and being honored with a place in the MLS Best XI for two different seasons. At 25 years of age, he has become one of the best defenders in the league with little left to prove.
In the very prime of his career, you’d be harsh to blame Robinson for thinking the time is perfect to make the leap to Europe to test himself at a higher level. Part of being a supporter of an MLS club is accepting that there are levels that the best players in the world dream of playing at that are above the league your club plays in. We’ve seen this scenario before with Almiron and just like with that situation, we shouldn’t be angry at a talented player wanting to achieve a lifelong dream.
I have no doubt that Miles Robinson is good enough to play in some of the best leagues in the world. It’s time for Atlanta United fans to accept that he’s most likely ready to test the open market after the 2023 MLS season concludes. It’s just the most logical conclusion to this situation and one that can’t really be blamed on anyone. The club appeared to have done their best to keep him, while he clearly wants to reach that next level. One could argue that the club could’ve tried to get a transfer fee in exchange for him before his contract expires. However, does receiving a modest sum of money really do that much for the club? Or is having him as a regular in the starting XI provide more value? We’ve seen time and time again that the club isn’t really concerned about netting positive on player transactions. Losing out on a $5-10 million fee in exchange for Robinson playing one more season in what is looking like an increasingly promising campaign isn’t going to make a difference in the club’s plan in the years to come under Garth Lagerwey.
From Miles’ perspective, he doesn’t owe the club or the fans anything. He’s played his heart out since arriving at the club. It wasn’t always easy at times, especially early on, but he earned his spot and developed into the star player he is today. He’s earned the right to make this decision. Instead of being upset or trying to place blame for the current predicament, Atlanta United fans should appreciate the great work Robinson has done for the club and enjoy this final season and what could be. My only hope is that the club learns from the Josef Martinez fiasco and gives Miles an appropriate sendoff when the time comes.