Argentine midfielder Thiago Almada has agreed on a personal deal until 2026 with Atlanta United. The MLS club will pay a league-record transfer fee worth $16 million to Velez Sarsfield. The South American club said an agreement was reached, but Atlanta stated that they did not “commit to acquiring” Almada at this point.

Thiago Almada
Thiago Almada will leave Velez Sarsfield in Argentina to join Atlanta United in exchange of $16 million, an MLS record transfer fee. (Image: Twitter/Velez)

“We have seen reports that we have finalized a deal to acquire Thiago Almada,” the MLS Club told The Athletic. “We can confirm that we retain an exclusive option to permanently transfer Almada. The option extends into 2022. We will have no further comment on the player at this time,” the release added.

Sources in Argentina say Almada is sure to join Atlanta in January, as soon as the transfer window opens. The info was disclosed by representatives of the player’s current club, Velez. Almada was a summer transfer target for Atlanta as well, but he couldn’t seal the move due to visa problems. After the 0-0 home draw against Patronato, Almada was thrown in the air by his colleagues, who wished him well in his new adventure.

Almada scored 24 goals and assisted another 10 over 93 games for Velez Sarsfield across all competitions. The 20-year-old was part of Argentina’s team at the Tokyo Olympics, featuring in two games. Before making his debut for Velez Sarsfield’s seniors’ side, Almada spent 12 years inside the club’s youth system. The winger was included by English newspaper The Guardian in the Next Generation 2018 project, a yearly study dedicated to the most promising players who turn 18.

MLS Cup 2018 winners Atlanta United finished in fifth place in the Eastern Conference this season. They made it into the playoffs, but went out in the opening round after losing 2-0 to New York City FC.