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Josef Martinez won’t return to Atlanta United in 2023, per report

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SOCCER: OCT 09 MLS - NYCFC at Atlanta United Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Josef Martinez’s time with Atlanta United has apparently come to an end.

According to The Athletic’s Felipe Cardenas, Martinez met with club vice president Carlos Bocanegra on Oct. 20 and was informed he wasn’t in the team’s plans moving forward:

Multiple sources, who were granted anonymity in order to maintain working relationships with Atlanta United, said that the club has been actively pursuing a new No. 9. Atlanta is expected to sign a forward using a designated player spot, but they must first find a contractual solution for Martínez.

Martinez’s impact to Atlanta United, and MLS, requires no explanation at this point. That said, his performance has taken a downturn since an ACL tear on the first day of the 2020 season. He did score 12 times in 24 matches in 2021, adding 9 goals and 4 assists in 2022 while missing a number of weeks after having his knee scoped.

However, the relationship between him, head coach Gonzalo Pineda, and the front office began to sour. He was suspended for a week following a locker room incident after the Portland Timbers match in September.

This is undoubtedly a pivotal moment for Atlanta United, and what it does next will draw massive attention from inside and outside the fanbase. Stay with Dirty South Soccer for more coverage as this story develops.