Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada said he remains focused on MLS club



As the summer transfer window looms, Atlanta United attacking midfielder Thiago Almada said Thursday he’s focused on the MLS team and not the various reports linking him to moves to clubs as notable as Napoli.

Despite his team losing its past three matches, Almada is tied for the league lead in goal contributions (11: 5 goals, 6 assists). The summer transfer windows for most clubs in Europe will open in June. Almada reacted by liking from his accounts reports posted on social media when he was tied to Italy Serie A champs Napoli a few weeks ago.

“I still don’t know anything about that,” he said. “My agent hasn’t told me anything. Totally focused on Atlanta right now, and I just want to be ready whenever that moment comes.”

Almada’s agent and his father recently visited the club on what he described as a routine visit.

Atlanta United manager Gonzalo Pineda said that he knows Almada at some point will be sold. He just hopes that the Argentinian remains throughout the season. Atlanta United (5-3-3) is in fourth place in the East. It will host Charlotte on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Pineda said he and Almada frequently talk, either face-to-face or through an app, about lots of things, including things that Almada can do in games, such as getting into certain spaces, decisions, etc., and some of the focus is on what may come next.

“I care about how ... to prepare him for whatever challenges in his career, his future,” Pineda said.

Just after Almada answered a few questions about his future, Pineda presented him with the 2022 MLS Newcomer of the Year award he earned last season after scoring six goals with 12 assists in 29 appearances. His play led to his first call-up to Argentina’s national team and then to make the roster that won the World Cup in Qatar.

His play last season also resulted in numerous reports of clubs expressing interest in him. President Garth Lagerwey and Vice President Carlos Bocanegra have said several times that European clubs have scouted Almada. Bocanegra said he believes that Almada will at some point play for a club competing in Europe’s Champions League.

That would be a big achievement, considering that not even Almada knew what was going to happen when he signed with Atlanta United from Velez Sarsfield ahead of the 2022 season for a reported transfer fee of $16 million.

“I just wanted to come in and perform well for the team and show why they wanted me,” he said. “So, just the fact that my name is out there, I think it just serves me, motivates me to continue to try and do my best.”

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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule

Feb. 25 Atlanta United 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1

March 4 Atlanta United 1, Toronto FC 1

March 11 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte FC 0

March 18 Atlanta United 5, Portland 1

March 25 Columbus 6, Atlanta United 1

April 1 Atlanta United 1, New York Red Bulls 0

April 8 Atlanta United 1, New York City FC 1

April 15 Atlanta United 2, Toronto FC 2

April 23 Atlanta United 2, Chicago 1

April 29 Nashville SC 3, Atlanta United 1

May 6 Inter Miami CF 2, Atlanta United 1

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 p.m., FS1

June 7 or Sept. 13 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