Possible destinations for Josef Martinez if he leaves Atlanta United in 2023

Josef Martinez

If there's one thing certain about Josef Martinez and Atlanta United, it's that the future's uncertain.

The club icon is a huge question mark heading into the 2023 MLS season - the last year on his contract - and neither the Venezuelan superstar nor club brass are offering any clues as to whether he'll be back.

After closing out the campaign with a 2-1 Decision Day loss to NYCFC on Sunday, Martinez instructed reporters to "talk to [Carlos] Bocanegra and [Gonzalo] Pineda" when approached about his situation.

Days later, during Atlanta's end-of-the-season conference call with the media, both the vice president/technical director and head coach were equally non-committal.

"We haven't made any choices," Bocanegra said, while Pineda touched on his well-documented strained relationship with the striker, revealing that "we shake hands, we talk here and there in the training sessions with no problems."

All this evasiveness is fertile ground for speculation about where Martinez could end up playing next season, and the Extratime crew were all too happy to offer their take.

For David Gass, Martinez's injury complications stemming from an ACL tear that caused him to miss almost the entire 2020 season, greatly affecting his offensive output in the process, has undercut some of his leverage.

"He wants his next long-term contract and he can’t afford a second year where he’s not successful to then go out to the market and then find his contract," Gass said.

Even so, his 98 goals in just 134 regular-season MLS games make King Josef an ideal choice for several clubs in the league and could motivate Atlanta to make a deal should they opt to sever ties with their all-time leading scorer.

"Nashville, Minnesota and Portland. They all fit that description. They're in the West, they've got cultures that are built, they need forwards. You assume the deal would be heavily performance-based," Gass explained.

Andrew Wiebe, meanwhile, is less convinced that the Five Stripes would be willing to offer the face of their franchise to a direct competitor.

"Do you want to trade him in MLS? I would not trade him in the Eastern Conference. Zero percent chance I would do that if I was Atlanta," he argued. "Do you buy him out and then he can go anywhere? He can stay in MLS, wherever he wants to go technically. He could go, I don't know, to South America, to Mexico.

"There's a lot on the table here."

The Josef Martinez situation is just one topic that the Extratime crew got into this week. Listen the full episode here.