Atlanta United has reportedly agreed to trade midfielder Darlington Nagbe to Columbus in exchange for an undisclosed amount of Allocation Money.
The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal reported the trade Wednesday. Atlanta United would not confirm the trade Wednesday night.
Nagbe played for Columbus coach Caleb Porter when the two were with the Portland Timbers, as well as in college at Akron.
Nagbe, 29, helped Atlanta United win three major trophies in his two seasons: the MLS Cup in 2018, and the U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup this season.
The MLS trade window will open on Monday.
The trade brings to an end a quiet soap opera that started in January. Nagbe and Atlanta United had an undisclosed disagreement during training camp, resulting in him not participating with the first team for days while it was working out in Fullerton, Calif.
A person with knowledge of the situation said that Nagbe was interested in returning to either team, Columbus or Cincinnati, in Ohio, but never asked for a trade. President Darren Eales and Vice President Carlos Bocanegra flew out to California to talk with Nagbe at one point. He eventually left the camp a few days before the rest of the team. He had a salary of $665,499.96 this season.
However, once the season started Nagbe was back with the first team, making 33 appearances, including 32 starts, this season.
Atlanta United acquired Nagbe from Portland in Dec. 2017 for $750,000 in General Allocation Money, $300,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and an International spot. There also were incentives related to Nagbe’s performance that could have increased the deal to as much $1.65 million.
Nagbe is one of the more underrated midfielders in MLS because of his ability to break pressure and beat defenders one-on-one. He fit in very well in a 3-5-2 formation because the team’s defenders could give him the ball and he could turn defense into offense in just a few steps.
Atlanta United doesn’t have another player on its roster with a similar skill set.
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