It seems likely that Nagbe will play one of three positions: holding midfielder beside either Carlos Carmona or Larentowicz, a central midfielder operating between the defensive midfielders and attacking midfielder Miguel Almiron, or as a left midfielder in the spot where Yamil Asad contributed seven goals and 13 assists last season.
Nagbe’s ability as a passer -- he finished with the highest passing accuracy (92 percent) in the league last season -- will make him invaluable on a team that scored 70 goals last season.
Wherever he is used by manager Gerardo Martino, Nagbe must play defense to make the pressing system work. He has been criticized as having an inconsistent work rate. Still, he has made 24 appearances for the U.S. national team and was an MLS All-Star in 2016.
The previous largest inter-league deal was made last season when Orlando City acquired striker Dom Dwyer from Sporting KC in an exchange that could reach as high as $1.6 million.
For the Nagbe deal to break that record, he would have to accomplish certain feats, according to ESPN:
- $150,000 from Atlanta United to Portland if he wins MVP;
- $100,000 from Atlanta United to Portland if he scores at least 12 goals in a season;
- $100,000 from Atlanta United to Portland if he has at least 15 assists in a season;
- $250,000 from Atlanta United to Portland if he finishes top-3 in points and Atlanta United wins the MLS Cup.
The dollars would be sent to Portland as Targeted Allocation Money. The bonuses would be paid just one time no matter how many times each are accomplished.
The guaranteed $300,000, and as much as $600,000 more in incentives, in TAM going to Portland isn't as impactful as it may seem because the league recently approved an increase in TAM funds available to be spent by clubs from $1.2 million to $4 million in 2018 and '19.