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What it means for Thiago Almada

Linked with Manchester City and Marseille as a teenager, Thiago Almada needed a move to MLS in order to facilitate a transfer to Europe. He will have to remain patient and play at least six months in Brazil, at which point Eagle Football has promised him a transfer to Lyon. Almada will eventually fulfill his dream of playing in Europe, but his path will serve as a cautionary tale for future MLS signings.

Almada may not have publicly pushed for a move away from Atlanta, but his desire to leave the club was evident. He talked often about wanting to play in Europe, even suggesting that a move to Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors would be another dream come true. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, Almada certainly is. However, when promises are made early in the recruiting process, impatience can swell. Almada handled it well and he can now leave MLS behind.

What it means for Atlanta United

Almada’s transfer will initiate a new high-profile transfer strategy at the club. CEO and President Garth Lagerwey has said that experienced players are preferred targets rather than unproven young professionals. I would expect Atlanta United to opt for a more experienced attacking midfielder to replace Almada.

The young Argentine will be remembered as perhaps the most skillful player Atlanta has ever signed. But he didn’t connect with the community beyond match days. His stay always felt temporary. Lagerwey must begin to sign players who want to stay in Atlanta and engage with a fanbase that’s desperate to reconnect with the club.

Finally, Atlanta is also shopping for a new centre-forward to replace Giorgos Giakoumakis, who was sold to Liga MX side Cruz Azul in June. Change is indeed coming to Atlanta United.

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