Sources: As Atlanta United closes in on Guzan, Johnson is on the move again
Atlanta United's aggressive steps toward building a first-year MLS powerhouse continue, with U.S. national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan in discussions to join the 2017 expansion team.
ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman was the first to identify the link, with a tweet Friday stating a Guzan to Atlanta deal was happening. Sources tell Goal USA that Guzan is in negotiations with Atlanta, and a deal is in the works, but no agreement has been reached as of late Friday.
Guzan would not join the club as a designated player but would be signed using targeted allocation money, which could bring the veteran's salary up to as much as $1 million a season.
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Currently serving as a backup to Victor Valdes with Premier League side Middlesbrough, Guzan appears ready for a return to MLS after spending the past eight years in England.
Though the 32-year-old could still choose to pass on a deal, one sign that Atlanta is confident in landing Guzan is another move the club has made at the goalkeeper position. Sources tell Goal USA that United is set to trade newly acquired goalkeeper Sean Johnson to New York City FC in advance of Guzan's anticipated arrival.
Johnson, an Atlanta native, was acquired by United from the Chicago Fire last month in a deal that has yet to be publicly announced because of the league's current transaction freeze, which will be lifted Sunday, the day after the MLS Cup final.
Atlanta already has one goalkeeper on its roster: Greek-American shot-stopper Alexander Tambakis, who was the first player signed by the club back in January. The 24-year-old Panathinaikos product spent the past year on loan with USL side Charleston.
United has been busy building what looks to be a formidable first-year club, having recently announced the high-priced signing of Paraguayan playmaker Miguel Almiron to go with the earlier acquisitions of Trinidad and Tobago striker Kenwyne Jones and Argentine forward Hector Villalba.
Goal USA also reported Wednesday that Atlanta has traded for veteran central defender Michael Parkhurst in another deal expected to be announced as early as Sunday.