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Atlanta United officially acquires Darlington Nagbe in record-breaking deal

Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers

The Atlanta United midfield just got that much better.

Atlanta United confirmed on Wednesday that the club has acquired Darlington Nagbe and Gbenga Arokoyo from the Portland Timbers. In exchange, the Timbers received $650,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) in 2018, $100,000 in GAM in 2019, $300,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) and a 2018 international roster spot. In addition, the Timbers will receive up to $600,000 in future TAM based on Nagbe’s performance with Atlanta United.

The potential total of $1.65 million in allocation money exceeds the total of up to $1.6 million involved in Orlando City’s move to sign Dom Dwyer from Sporting Kansas City this past summer.

“Darlington was our top target in the league this offseason and we’re ecstatic to welcome him to our club,” said Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra. “He is a perfect fit for our style of play as he has a dynamic ability to dribble out of trouble, maintain possession and make passes that bring additional players into the game.”

Nagbe has spent his entire professional career in Portland after being selected second overall in the 2011 MLS Draft. In total, the midfielder has made 214 league appearances, 203 starts and has scored 27 goals with 30 assists.

“As the club’s first-ever MLS draft pick, Darlington has grown with this team from its beginnings in the league and has been a great player and representative in his seven years with the Timbers,” said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for the Timbers.

“On behalf of the entire organization, I want to sincerely thank Darlington for everything he has given this club and for helping Portland win its first MLS Cup in 2015. He will always be a part of the Timbers family, and we wish Darlington, his wife, Felicia, and their two children all the best.”


  1. Atlanta has been kind of setting the bar for every mls club since the day they turned on the lights in the office. now every club wants to be Atlanta, i love it!

  2. I just wonder what this means for Carleton’s playing time next season. He needs to start getting real minutes or move to Europe now..

    • the depth Atlanta is building is incredible. young players like
      Carleton, Bello, Kunga, Vasquez, others are really going to have to fight to get playing time. of course opportunities will arise because players like Almiron will get sold on and injuries will happen but even players like Garza and Nagbe are not going to be automatic starters on this roster.

      wow – this MLS team is appearing to function like a real football club.

  3. Transfermarkt estimated Nagbe as $2.07 mil after converting from Euros. So how do you compare that to this complicated GAM/TAM scheme that MLS does? Any knowledgable folks wanna explain?

    • It is very complicated because one….MLS takes part of that 2 million bucks. I don’t know how much.

      Two, it ain’t apples to apples. Not even close.

      The TAM and GAM allow a team to spend more than a salary cap that limits a team’s ability to win.
      A transfer fee is just money. Which if it is spent enables you to win…..IF the owner can and is willing to spend it. Otherwise it is just someone else’s money.

      • I don’t like this level of complexity. Markets are most efficient when prices are transparent representations of value and objects being purchased are clearly defined. My main concern is for player development and that this system doesn’t make it harder for younger players to transfer out of MLS to go to better leagues. And that this doesn’t reduce the incentive for teams to develop American youth players. If we could back out a sort-of “value” that the league is adding onto each player for overall MLS marketing and future growth, that would be a good thought experiment.

    • Basically MLS keeps the first 1/3 of a transfer (1/4 for homegrown), then the club gets up to 650,000 to use for player allocation, anything leftover can be used only for non player operations. So Portland gets more salary available money by selling him to ATL than Celtic.


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