Update: To everyone’s surprise, Atlanta United went on record tonight clarifying that the club has not agreed to acquire Thiago Almada yet. Here’s their statement:
We have seen reports about Thiago Almada. We have not committed to acquiring the player at this time; we can confirm that we retain an exclusive option to permanently transfer the player. The option extends into 2022. We will have no further comment on the player at this time.— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) December 4, 2021
So, Velez is ready to accept Atlanta United’s terms of the deal and seem eager to push it across the line, but Atlanta United wants to wait. It’s worth noting that Almada would arrive as a Designated Player, which as of this writing would push Atlanta over the allowed threshold in MLS. That factor could influence negotiations for Ezequiel Barco, so holding off for now makes sense. Or, if reported interest never materializes into an acceptable bid, the team could retain Barco. Dirty South Soccer understands the team holds the terms of the current deal in hand until early 2022, and can execute the transaction at a time of its choosing.
Thiago Almada’s departure from Velez Sarsfield looks to be all but a done deal.
The Argentian club on Friday afternoon announced it had agreed to terms of the transfer of the 20-year-old to Atlanta United for US $16 million, an MLS record. That’s higher than the reported $15.95 million it paid for Pity Martinez. Almada will join Atlanta in February 2022.
Se arribó a un entendimiento con la Mayor League Soccer (MLS) por la cesión definitiva de los derechos federativos de Thiago Almada a favor del Atlanta United FC. El monto de la operación es de U$S16.000.000. El convenio entraría en vigencia a principios de febrero de 2022 pic.twitter.com/dLi6U1wR3Y— Vélez Sarsfield (@Velez) December 3, 2021
Atlanta will hope that this most recent big-spending move pays off and can provide a jolt to its attack in 2022 in Gonzalo Pineda’s first full season as manager. While Luiz Araujo showed immense promise in the early stages of his MLS career, the aforementioned Pity Martinez transfer didn’t pan out and ended with him in Saudi Arabia. This also means that Atlanta will obviously need to open a DP slot, all but assuredly equaling a winter move for Ezequiel Barco.
Almada joined Velez’s youth setup in 2006 and signed to their first team in 2018. He has scored 17 goals through 71 appearances.