TUESDAY, 3:45 ET: The two clubs announced the transaction on Thursday afternoon with Atlanta receiving $650,000 in 2020 Targeted Allocation Money, $100,000 in 2021 Targeted Allocation Money for Gressel. Additionally, Atlanta can receive up to $350,000 in TAM if Gressel meets certain performance-based metrics with D.C. United.
“We’re excited to bring a player of Julian’s quality and pedigree to the club ahead of the 2020 season,” said D.C. GM and VP of soccer operations Dave Kasper in a statement. "He has impressed throughout his time in MLS and has been a major component to Atlanta’s success in the league since 2017. Last year, he led Atlanta in assists and chances created while also scoring eight goals so we’re looking forward to adding his impressive goal creating ability and eye for goal to our roster in 2020 and beyond."
“We want to thank Julian for his service to our club over the past three seasons,” said Atlanta United VP and technical director Carlos Bocanegra. “Coming out of college, Julian played an important role in building our team and helping the club win three major trophies. We wish him luck in his future.”
TUESDAY, NOON ET:Julian Gressel’s public contract dispute with Atlanta United has reached a climax, with the midfielder reportedly traded Tuesday to fellow Eastern Conference club D.C. United for $1 million in allocation money, according to Steven Goff of The Washington Post.
Gressel, 24, had 15 goals and 35 assists in 98 matches (88 starts) across the last three seasons. The 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year was a jackknife of sorts for the Five Stripes, playing wide right and centrally as they won MLS Cup in 2018 and captured Campeones Cup and U.S. Open Cup titles in 2019.
As Atlanta opened preseason camp last week ahead of their Feb. 18 Concacaf Champions League opener against Honduran side Motagua, Gressel advocated for a quick resolution.
“I’ve said something about it in the past. That stands, that’s valid. There’s nothing really to add at the moment,” Gressel told media last week. “Obviously I want a resolution to this as soon as possible, but that’s for my agent and the club to work out. I don’t want this to be hanging over our heads here in preseason. I don’t think that’s fair to our club and our team, and I especially don’t think it’s fair to our teammates.”
The addition gives the Black-and-Red a major boost heading into 2020, with Gressel and Peruvian midfielder Edison Flores newly-acquired pieces for the era succeeding stars Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta.
As for Atlanta, a vital piece of the club’s first three MLS seasons now departs. Difference-makers in midfield such as Ezequiel Barco, Pity Martinez and Emerson Hyndman remain, but there’s a big hole nonetheless. This would also mark Atlanta's second major allocation haul via trade this offseason, after Darlington Nagbe was sent to Columbus Crew SC for $1,050,000 million.
Gressel made over $114,000 in 2019, according to MLS Players Association figures, though Goff reports that figure could increase six-fold in D.C.