TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Trade
Atlanta sent a potential total of $1.65 million in allocation money to Portland to acquire Nagbe, who has spent all seven of his professional seasons with the Timbers. Portland defender Gbenga Arokoyo will also join Atlanta as part of the deal.
Although that figure depends on contract incentives, it has the potential to be the most allocation money ever exchanged in a single trade, exceeding the total of up to $1.6 million involved in Orlando City SC's move to pry Dom Dwyer from Sporting Kansas City last summer.
Portland receives $750,000 in General Allocation Money, at least $300,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, and a 2018 international roster spot. The total could rise up to $900,000 in TAM based on incentives.
Nagbe has made at least 27 league appearances in all seven of his MLS campaigns since he was selected as the second overall pick of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft during Portland's expansion year. More recently, the Liberian-born Nagbe has become a regular fixture in the US national team since receiving his citizenship in 2015.
Nagbe won one MLS Cup title with Portland in 2015, and although he will be remembered as part of the US group that failed to reach the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he was also with the Yanks during their 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup triumph.
But a combination of reported increased salary demands and the sudden departure of coach Caleb Porter appeared to open the way for a move to an Atlanta side that has immediately established itself as one of the league's glamour clubs in its expansion 2017 campaign.
Nagbe at times has been plagued by frustrations from those who believe his obvious skill should translate to more offensive production than 27 goals and 30 assists over his league career. But he has also evolved into a deeper midfield role, particularly on the international level, and would not face a burden to produce up top on an Atlanta team already laden with attacking talent.
Atlanta's South American trio of Josef Martinez, Hector Villalba and Miguel Almiron combined for 41 league goals in 2017, more than D.C. United, Orlando City, the San Jose Earthquakes and Colorado Rapids scored as a team over their respective campaigns.
The Five Stripes are looking to build on their Knockout Round playoff appearance, and have already added two South American defenders in Argentine 22-year-old Franco Escobar and Venezuelan 20-year-old Jose Hernandez. The addition of Nagbe, along with the return of veteran Jeff Larentowicz, gives Atlanta veteran, talented MLS presence just in front of a backline that improved over the second half of last season to allow 40 goals overall in league play.
Portland may be in for a partial rebuild in a new coach's image following a disappointing loss in the Western Conference Semifinals. Darren Mattocks went to D.C. United in a trade on Sunday, and fellow striker Fanendo Adi has been linked to a potential move to China. The Timbers have yet to announce a replacement for Porter, though reports have former MetroStars and Venezuela striker Giovanni Savarese as the favorite to land the job.
|Atlanta United FC|
|ROSTERED PLAYERS (29 of 30 spots filled as of Dec. 13, 2017):|
GK (3): Brad Guzan, Mitch Hildebrandt, Alec Kann
OFFSEASON ACQUISITIONS (7): Gbenga Arokoyo, Franco Escobar, Greg Garza, Jose Hernandez, Mitch Hildebrandt, Jeff Larentowicz, Darlington Nagbe
OFFSEASON DEPARTURES (11): Yamil Asad, Mark Bloom, Bobby Boswell, Harrison Heath, Kenwyne Jones, Zach Loyd, Tyrone Mears, Jeffrey Otoo, Kyle Reynish, Alexander Tambakis, Anton Walkes