Transfer Tracker

Atlanta United transfer Luiz Araújo to Brazil's Flamengo

Luiz Araujo ATL


Atlanta United are offloading one of the biggest pieces of their roster, announcing Thursday the surprise transfer of high-profile winger Luiz Araújo to Brazilian Serie A powerhouse Flamengo.

The 26-year-old, who joined the Five Stripes in the summer of 2021 in one of Major League Soccer's most expensive inbound transfers ever (reported $10 million, plus another $2 million in incentives), will stay with the club through their June 24 match at the New York Red Bulls before making the permanent move to the Mengão.

Araújo's departure opens up a Designated Player slot for Atlanta ahead of the league's Secondary Transfer Window, which runs from July 5 to Aug. 2. The team's other two DPs are Thiago Almada and offseason signing Giorgos Giakoumakis.

“We signed Luiz two years ago from the French champions and are sending him to the reigning Copa Libertadores champions,” Atlanta United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a release.

“Ultimately, this was an opportunity that suits both parties well and gives us enough time to plan and evaluate as we’ll be actively seeking reinforcements in the Summer Transfer Window. We wish Luiz the best of luck at Flamengo and in his future endeavors.”

Despite his hefty price tag and the lofty expectations that came with his arrival from then-Ligue 1 champion Lille, Araújo never quite reached the heights imagined for him in Atlanta. The Brazilian has produced 11 goals and 12 assists in 56 regular-season games (51 starts), while making a lone Audi MLS Cup Playoffs appearance with the Five Stripes during his debut year.

However, 3g/2a to date in 2023 has him on pace for his best season in MLS. Araújo most recently found the back of the net in Wednesday's 4-0 blowout of the Colorado Rapids in Matchday 13, earning Team of the Matchday presented by Audi honors in the process.

Araújo becomes the latest big contract freed up from the club's payroll under new president and CEO Garth Lagerwey. Since taking over in November 2022, Lagerwey has overseen the transfer of Alan Franco to São Paulo and Marcelino Moreno's season-long loan to Coritiba.

The Brazilian Serie A is once again the destination for an Atlanta player, with Flamengo paying a reported $10 million for Araújo's signature.

With this move, the Five Stripes will likely lean even more heavily on Almada in attack. However, the Argentine World Cup champion is also expected to depart the club sooner than later, possibly commanding a league-record transfer fee on his way out.

Meanwhile, Giakoumakis has settled in nicely in his debut season, scoring six goals in nine games for Atlanta in a No. 9 role. Head coach Gonzalo Pineda also has the likes of homegrowns Tyler Wolff and Machop Chol, as well as Derrick Etienne Jr., to choose from in attack.