Transfer Tracker

Thiago Almada joining Atlanta United from Velez Sarsfield via MLS-record fee?

UPDATE (Dec. 3, 7:35 pm ET) – After months of Thiago Almada being linked with a transfer to Atlanta United, Vélez Sarsfield tweeted Friday that the attacking midfielder will join for the 2022 campaign on a $16 million deal.

That figure would make Almada the most expensive incoming player in MLS history, surpassing the marks Atlanta previously set with Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez. The deal was previously reported as lasting through 2026, though ATLUTD haven't announced anything.

"We have seen reports that we have finalized a deal to acquire Thiago Almada," Atlanta tweeted later Friday. "We have not committed to acquiring the player at this time; however we can confirm that we retain an exclusive option to permanently transfer the player. The option extends into 2022. We will have no further comment on the player at this time."

Almada has impressed at the Primera División side, registering 24 goals and 11 assists across 98 appearances in all competitions. The 20-year-old is also chasing an Argentine national team breakthrough.

Atlanta, entering their first full season under head coach Gonzalo Pineda, finished fifth in the Eastern Conference standings. They dropped their Round One game 2-0 at New York City FC in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.

UPDATE (Nov. 5, 5:30 pm ET) – Atlanta United and Velez Sarsfield attacking midfielder Thiago Almada have agreed to a deal through December 2026, according to a report from Cesar Luis Merlo.

The 20-year-old was recently called up by Argentina for their Conmebol World Cup Qualifiers this November. That puts him in line for his La Albiceleste debut.

ORIGINAL (Oct 29, 11:30 am ET) – Atlanta United didn't land 20-year-old attacking midfielder Thiago Almada during the Secondary Transfer Window, but that may have represented a delay rather than a failure.

Almada has told Argentine outlet TYC Sports that a deal is "almost completed" for him to move from Velez Sarsfield to Atlanta prior to the 2022 season.

If so, the move could challenge the Five Stripe's incoming transfer record previously set when they plied fellow Argentine Pity Martinez from River Plate, and before that Ezequiel Barco from Independiente. While Martinez has moved on to Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr, Barco is still in the fold and has grown into one of the club's most important players.

Should Almada come to Atlanta, an attacking piece could simultaneously depart. Barco was signed in 2018 with an eye toward an eventual move to Europe, and Atlanta count forward Josef Martinez and Luiz Araujo among their other Designated Players. Attacking midfielder Marcelino Moreno has been a key player in 2021 as well.

In 93 games to date across all competitions for Velez Sarsfield, Almada has 24 goals and 10 assists – including several key Copa Libertadores contributions. He also featured for Argentina at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics alongside Barco.

Atlanta currently have their three U22 Initiative roster spots occupied by Franco Ibarra, Erik Lopez and Santiago Sosa. Almada's value is estimated at $22 million, according to Transfermarkt.