Atlanta United finally completes transfer of Thiago Almada

February 9, 2022 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — After clearing a designated player spot on its roster, Atlanta United finally completed its latest acquisition from South America by signing Argentina’s Thiago Almada on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Almada recorded 24 goals and 11 assists in 100 matches across all competitions for Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield of the Argentine first division. He signed a contract with Atlanta United that runs through 2025.

“He’s a player we’ve been tracking for a long time and he’s shown that he’s one of the best young players in South America over the past few seasons,” Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra said. “We feel that his abilities fit well with the kind of attacking soccer that we want to play at Atlanta United and we’re confident that he will be able to play at a high level in Major League Soccer.”

Last season, Almada made 38 total appearances with nine goals and six assists.

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But his long-expected transfer to Atlanta United was held up while Almada was investigated over allegations that a woman was sexually assaulted at a party in December 2020. Authorities in Argentina recently closed their investigation without charging Almada, clearing the way for him to make the move to MLS.

Bocanegra said the club performed “an extensive and in-depth due diligence process.”

A designated spot opened up recently when Atlanta United loaned another young Argentinian, Ezequiel Barco, to River Plate for the rest of the 2022 season with a reported option to buy.

United is counting on Almada to be the sort of attacking midfielder who can help the team build on the success it had after Gonzalo Pineda took over as coach last season.

“Thiago is a talented player who will add quality to our attack in the final third,” Pineda said. “He’s very good at taking on defenders and creating chances for himself and his teammates.”

Atlanta United opens the season Feb. 27 at Sporting Kansas City.

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