While the MLS secondary transfer window closed on August 9, several other countries saw theirs close weeks after that. That meant that while MLS teams couldn’t complete moves within the league and bring in transfers from international teams after that date, they could sell and loan players to other countries provided that country’s transfer window was open.
Unsurprisingly, per a report from MLSSoccer.com’s Sam Stejkal, players from Atlanta United were targeted by international clubs, specifically ones in Mexico and Europe. Obviously Carlos Bocanegra didn’t comment on the specific players, but as Stejkal pointed out - as anyone reading between the lines can surmise - it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez and/or Tito Villalba were in that mix of players that were targeted. Whatever the offer or offers were, Darren Eales told Stejkal that the offer “(had) to be big” in order for the club to entertain it.
We’ll never know how much the offer was, who made the offer, and how “big” Eales was thinking, but the plus side for players like Almiron, Martinez and Villalba is that they are all in their 20s and arguably have yet to hit their prime. Would an offer have be on par with the $8 million Villareal paid for Jozy Altidore in 2008, the highest transfer fee paid to an MLS club? I don’t think that possibility would be out of the question at all, and would assume that it would have to be higher in the case of a player like Almiron that the club paid a league-record $8.5 million to bring to the league from Lanus.
Several UEFA member countries (England, Spain, Italy, Germany among others), as well as Mexico, see their midseason transfer windows open on January 1 for about a month. Will the unnamed clubs and some new ones line up at Atlanta United’s door to add to their rosters during MLS’ offseason? We’ll have to wait and see.