Atlanta United confirms acquisition of Giorgos Giakoumakis

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Giorgos Giakoumakis finally is, officially, an Atlanta United player.

Now, will he be the striker the team needs?

Atlanta United confirmed the acquisition of the Greek national Wednesday. Giakoumakis joins from Celtic on a four-year contract for a reported transfer fee of $5.1 million. The 28-year-old will be a Designated Player and occupy an international slot on the roster.

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“Giorgos is a player who’s been on the club’s radar for a while, and we’re excited to bring him to Atlanta,” Vice President Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement from the club. “He’s a powerful striker who loves to get in the box and score goals. He plays with a high intensity, works hard and is someone we think will help the team both in the attack and leading the line defensively.”

The transfer ends a saga that lasted weeks and included a team in Japan. Celtic seemed to be playing the two hopefuls against each other. Atlanta United was trying to bring in Giakoumakis on a loan before finally agreeing on a permanent transfer.

Giakoumakis has big boots to fill. Josef Martinez, the player he’s replacing, scored 111 goals and led the team to three major trophies before his contract was bought down in January. He then signed with Miami.

Bocanegra and President Garth Lagerwey have said that the next striker wouldn’t be expected to be the next Martinez. Lagerwey hinted weeks ago that the next striker may be more of a combiner with Luiz Araujo and Thiago Almada than an outright scorer.

Giakoumakis can score, though. He totaled 26 goals in 57 appearances for Celtic in Scotland, helping them to two trophies. Like Martinez, he scored with his right foot, left foot and head. He totaled 29 goals in 33 appearances for VVV-Venlo in Holland. He has 83 goals and 14 assists in 243 appearances as a pro.

Giakoumakis is the second of three acquisitions that manager Gonzalo Pineda said the club was trying to sign. The first was centerback Luis Abram, who was confirmed last week. Pineda won’t say what position the third player is expected to occupy. Other acquisitions this offseason are winger Derrick Etienne and goalkeepers Quentin Westberg and Clement Diop.

Atlanta United roster

Goalkeepers (4): Clément Diop, Justin Garces, Brad Guzan and Quentin Westberg.

Defenders (10): Luis Abram, Noah Cobb, Andrew Gutman, Ronald Hernández, Brooks Lennon, Aiden McFadden, Efrain Morales, Juanjo Purata, Miles Robinson and Caleb Wiley.

Midfielders (11): Thiago Almada, Ozzie Alonso, Ezequiel Barco*, Derrick Etienne Jr., Ajani Fortune, Franco Ibarra, Marcelino Moreno**, Matheus Rossetto, Amar Sejdić, Santiago Sosa and Tyler Wolff.

Forwards (7): Luiz Araújo, Erik Centeno, Machop Chol, Jackson Conway, Giorgos Giakoumakis, Erik López, and Edwin Mosquera***.

*On loan to River Plate through 2023 season

** On loan to Coritiba FC through 2023 season

*** On loan to Defensa y Justicia through 2023 season

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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule

Feb. 25 vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m.

March 4 vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.

March 11 at Charlotte FC, noon, Fox

March 18 vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.

March 25 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

April 1 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

April 8 at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

April 15 at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.

April 23 vs. Chicago Fire FC, 4:30 p.m., FS1

April 29 at Nashville SC, 1:30 p.m., Fox

May 6 at Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.

May 13 vs. Charlotte FC, 7:30 p.m.

May 17 vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.

May 20 at Chicago Fire FC, 8:30 p.m.

May 27 at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.

May 31 vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m., FS1

June 3 at Los Angeles FC, 10:30 p.m.

June 10 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 21 vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

June 24 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

July 2 vs. Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m., Fox

July 8 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 12 at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.

July 15 vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA