World Cup winner Thiago Almada is 'deserving of' MLS record transfer fee, says Atlanta United president

Almada Atlanta 2023Getty
  • CEO says Almada worthy of record fee
  • Won 2022 World Cup with Argentina
  • MLS MVP candidate

WHAT HAPPENED? Almada, the driving force behind Atlanta's 2023 campaign, has 10 goals and 14 assists, firmly putting him in the conversation for the league MVP award. This comes on the heels of his breakout 2022 season which saw him selected as part of the Argentina team that won the 2022 World Cup.

Thursday, club president Garth Lagerway told The Athletic that he believes Almada can break the MLS transfer record.

WHAT THEY SAID: “I can’t control what other teams offer us, but do I think he’s deserving of a record transfer? I do,” Lagerwey sid.. “I think there’s objective numbers to support that.”

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Atlanta navigated their summer transfer window carefully, so that a DP slot would be open if Almada opted to stay with the club this winter, which they would use on him.

“He can stay as long as he wants,” their CEO added. “We didn’t sign a full DP on purpose (this summer).”

“We’d like to establish that we are a viable pipeline, that Miguel Almirón wasn’t a one-off,” Lagerwey said. “That we can sign the best player in South America and we can be good for them, they can be good for us. For Almiron, the deal was good for Newcastle, too.”

Technical director Carlos Bocanegra also chimed in, saying that Almada has European dreams, but is content at the moment.

“(Almada’s) happy here but when the time comes and a Champions League club comes in for him, and he’s ready to go, we’ll work with him,” Bocanegra said. “That’s always his goal, to play at a Champions League club and he’s got that ability. We’re happy to have him as long as he wants to stay, but we understand at some point there will be that time.”

“He’s a couple of years younger than Miguel, he won the World Cup with Argentina,” Bocanegra added of Almada. “I think you see a lot of value. We’re really excited with where he’s going."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Almada was the subject of interest from Ajax late in the window. He's been outstanding for Atlanta this campaign, so it will come as no surprise to anyone if he finds himself moving to Europe come January.


Thiago Almada of Argentina(C)Getty Images

Almada Argentina 2023Getty

WHAT NEXT FOR ALMADA AND ATLANTA? The Five Stripes travel to Philadelphia to take on the Union on Wednesday, October 4.