Atlanta United FC once again turned heads across MLS and beyond on Monday, announcing the signing of Paraguayan international Miguel Almiron as a Young Designated Player via a transfer from Argentine side Lanus. As part of the transaction, Atlanta acquired the Right of First Refusal on Almiron from the Seattle Sounders in exchange for General Allocation Money.
The 22-year-old playmaker is one of Latin America's most coveted young attackers and stands to be one of the 2017 MLS expansion club's most important signings. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, multiple media outlets in the US and abroad have reported that Atlanta spent significant dollars on a transfer fee, fending off other huge potential bidders like English powerhouse Arsenal.
“Our club’s ambition is to acquire quality players heading into their peak playing years and Miguel’s youth and ability absolutely speak to that,” Atlanta president Darren Eales said in a club release. “He’s highly regarded as one of the top young players in South America and we couldn’t be happier that he has chosen to continue his already impressive career here in Atlanta.”
Blessed with pace and trickery and able to play both centrally and out wide, Almirón has already made seven appearances for the Paraguayan national team, including three in last summer’s Copa America Centenario (although the play he might be best known for in that tournament was when John Brooks dispossessed him with a stunning tackle in Paraguay’s 1-0 loss to the US national team).
He’ll join an Atlanta team that’s been aggressive in building around talented youngsters, having signed Argentine winger Hector Villalba as a Young DP as well as US youth international players as Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin as Homegrowns. Atlanta are also reportedly closing in on a deal to acquire 27-year-old goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
“Miguel is a player I’ve long admired,” Atlanta United head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino said. “He is a very skillful player with excellent technique and great vision. He is currently one of the best players in Argentina’s top league and we’re really excited that he’s joining Atlanta United.”