Atlanta United

Atlanta United complete transfer of Thiago Almada from Velez

Chris Smith
Thiago Almada joins Atlanta United
Thiago Almada joins Atlanta United / Pool/GettyImages

Atlanta United have completed the signing of Argentine playmaker Thiago Almada from Velez Sarsfield, the club announced Wednesday.

The Five Stripes had been linked with Almada for some time, with Velez even announcing via social media that the transfer was complete back in December - though Atlanta quickly rebuffed suggestions.

Even so, a club spokesperson told 90min recently that Atlanta United retained an 'exclusive transfer option' for the player, while Ezequiel Barco's loan departure from River Plate made it apparent that the deal was going ahead as planned. Almada was recently cleared without charges from his legal case in Argentina.

Atlanta United finally announced the deal on Wednesday, with Almada signing a contract through 2025.

The Five Stripes have paid a reported $16m fee for Almada, making him the most expensive incoming player in MLS history - each of the top three spots are Argentine players signed by Atlanta United.

“After an extensive and in-depth due diligence process, we have exercised our exclusive option to permanently transfer in Thiago,” vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a release.

“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. 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.”

Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda welcomed the addition of a player who should supercharge his side's offense during the 2022 season.

“Thiago is a talented player who will add quality to our attack in the final third,” he said.

“He’s very good at taking on defenders and creating chances for himself and his teammates. We’re very happy to welcome him to the club and look forward to integrating him into the team as quickly as possible.”

Almada arrives in MLS after making a century of appearances for Velez, during which he scored 24 goals and assisted another 11. At international level, he has 12 caps for Argentina so far across various youth levels.