Ever since the first inkling of a rumor linking Josef Martinez to Atlanta United popped up, this deal has made 100 percent sense for the club. With two Designated Player spots filled, Darren Eales and company set their sights on a third attacking threat to complete their dynamic trio and the Venezuelan striker fits the bill to perfection.
Some will point out that Martinez didn’t quite pan out or live up to his potential in Serie A. That’s an undeniable fact, as successful attacking players just beginning their prime in a top four league don’t just come to Major League Soccer on a whim. The 23-year-old’s failure to cement himself in Torino’s starting lineup is Atlanta United’s massive gain.
The club’s game plan for acquiring Designated Players is apparent. Target young, attacking talent with the ability to adapt to Tata Martino’s system. That’s why you see all three impact signings come from the South American region as they all fit what Martino has in store for the tactical side of the game. It also helps that all three are just entering the prime of their careers and could have potential sell-on value in the future.
Josef Martinez’s versatility is a luxury for Martino and the coaching staff to try and fit into the lineup. He has the ability to play as a winger on the left side of the field. As it stands now, that seems the most logical fit with Kenwyne Jones occupying the target striker role and Miguel Almiron pushed into the attacking midfielder spot.
There’s also the chance that Martino decides to utilize a two striker set-up with Martinez sitting in behind Jones. A quick look at the Venezuelan national team shows that Martinez has experience playing with a target striker in Salomon Rondon.
In the event that Jones needs rest or picks up an injury, a switch to a smaller lineup with the diminutive Martinez leading the line up top is an option too. Sometimes during his reign at Barcelona, Tata never utilized a true striker, often playing a false 9 like Cesc Fabregas to connect to the midfield and wingers.
From the first whisper of a rumor, Josef Martinez has made perfect sense for Atlanta United. Now that the deal is official it’s time for it all to come together on the field and for that theory to be proven right.