Updated: Jul 28
There has been a lot of speculation as Atlanta ramps up for the summer transfer window, starting on Wednesday the 5th of June. Chief among the rumors have been potential Thiago Almada landing destinations, Luiz Araujo confirmed to Flamengo, and potential signings to bolster the team before the final playoff push. This increasing flow of rumors leads to lots of questions and now part of the fun is deciding what we hope will happen, according to Garth Lagerwey we have up to 3 incoming transfers to look forward to so what could those be?
Luiz Araujo to Flamengo
Luiz Araujo going to Flamengo is the first confirmed transfer of the window which is very exciting. According to numerous news outlets and Atlanta United's own Twitter account the deal is official and Luiz will be going to Brazil for "8 figures". In addition to this inflow of cash it also frees up a DP spot on the roster which allows for a really exciting big signing. This is when we get a first look at Garth Lagerwey's transfer style, I know Seattle are successful and their B+ players for C+ prices method clearly works but I would rather us sign risky young South American talent like we have in the past with several successful players like Miggy and Thiago--and some less successful players like Barco and Pity Martinez.
Should Thiago Almada go to Napoli?
It is impossible to talk about the upcoming transfer window without brining up MLS's hottest young talent Thiago Almada. Thiago is such a fun player to watch, he has explosive acceleration, has silky dribbling, and gives the keeper heart attacks when he steps up to a freekick. Who in Europe wouldn't want to sign him? Almada will most likely go to Europe this summer and will command a potentially record breaking transfer fee when he does go. Currently he is linked most strongly with Napoli who just won their first scudetto in over 30 years. They are not a bad team to play for right now, they have a fun attack led by rising stars Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and will be up there among the favorites to go far in the Champions League and to win the Serie A again. That being said, Serie A most likely isn't the league you dream about at night if you are a young footballer from South America. Italy is also not the easiest league to transfer into or out of with the Serie as a whole not making many moves in most transfer windows, in stark contrast to the Premier League or La Liga. This should definitely be a factor in Almada's decision making process as it might be worth it to try to hold out for a move to a Liverpool or Sevilla who might be looking to bolster their midfield to help with their fight for European soccer. That being said, the Italian press are really sure Almada is coming to Naples.
What Roles Do We Need?
Now to the fun part, what positions might Atlanta want to fill this transfer window? Given the max of three players it is interesting to try to pick what positions I would choose to bolster this transfer window. Three weeks ago I might have said goalkeeper but Quentin Westberg has been perfectly sufficient and Guzan is purportedly back in first team training again so now I would look more attacking for my signings. Firstly, we will have to find a DP to fill Luiz's now open slot. We will also have another DP slot if Almada leaves. This gives us two slots that we could potentially sign basically anyone into. If we want to keep our current formation (4-2-3-1) we would need to sign another CAM and RW, like-for-like replacements for Luiz and Thiago. But with them leaving we now have options and can shift formations. Personally I think that we should play a box midfield. I will write an article (or two) going into more depth later but for now I would lineup in a 4-3-3 and shift Gutman into the midfield to play a 3-4-3 in game with Gutman and Ibarra as double pivots and two more attacking players as the top of the midfield box. With our current squad this would be Rossetto and Almada, but going into the transfer market we could sign anyone so for a box midfield I would sign a box-to-box midfielder who can handle the ball well and a RW to replace Luiz. With the final potential signing of the summer I would sign another winger for depth. Lots to think about!