Will Saturday be Thiago Almada’s last home match with Atlanta United?

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada  dribbles during the first half of the match against the Charlotte FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Sunday June 2, 2024. (Photo by  Madelaina Polk/Atlanta United)

Credit: Madelaina Polk/Atlanta United

Credit: Madelaina Polk/Atlanta United

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada dribbles during the first half of the match against the Charlotte FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Sunday June 2, 2024. (Photo by Madelaina Polk/Atlanta United)

Thiago Almada may play his last home match with Atlanta United on Saturday if the transfer process that was supposed to start Tuesday reaches completion in the coming days.

Almada is being pursued by a group that owns clubs in Brazil, France and England. If the bid by the group, Eagle Football, is accepted, Almada would be transferred to one of the clubs, Botafogo, Lyon or Crystal Palace.

Eagle Football Chairman John Textor posted a video on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Tuesday saying that his group planned to submit a bid for Almada that morning. The video refuted numerous reports from the past few days from journalists in Europe and South America that a $20 million bid already had been agreed to by the parties and confirmed statements made by Atlanta United President Garth Lagerwey to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday that no agreement was in place. In fact, as of Tuesday morning, the two groups hadn’t communicated since January.

Textor, who said he was in London, said he didn’t yet know what terms of the agreement would be, which also refuted the $20 million reported fee.

“I haven’t made the offer yet,” Textor said. “We love the player. We’ve had a good time talking to his family. We are doing this the right way. I’ve got a good relationship with the leadership of Atlanta United. We wouldn’t go in through the back door. We would go in through the front door. I plan on sending the offer to them directly this morning and giving their CEO a call. That’s where we’re at.”

A person with knowledge of the situation but not allowed to speak to journalists said a bid was received. The club declined to comment on any offers received for any players, citing its policy.

Lagerwey seemed to imply to radio station 92.9 the Game on Tuesday that the first bid wasn’t satisfactory, saying “I don’t know if we can jump to the conclusions some are making,” also refuting reports that an agreement was reached days ago.

Almada, 23 years old, has said numerous times that his goal is to play for a club in Europe. He also has said repeatedly that he is happy at Atlanta United. He is considered one of the brighter talents in MLS, with 22 goals and 33 assists in 76 appearances. He finished in the top three of MLS MVP voting for the 2023 season and was the first active player to be on a World-Cup winning roster when Argentina took the title in 2022.

Atlanta United purchased Almada from Velez Sarsfield in Argentina before the 2022 season for a reported $16 million.

Almada is expected to be selected to play for Argentina in the Olympics. Men’s soccer in the Paris Games is scheduled to start July 24, and the gold-medal match is scheduled to be played Aug. 9. A good performance could drive up his transfer fee, should Atlanta United chose to wait. Almada is under contract with Atlanta United through the 2026 season.

After Saturday’s match against Toronto, Atlanta United won’t play again at Mercedes-Benz Stadium until July 17, when the team hosts NYCFC.

If Almada is sold, he would become the third player sold for more than $15 million by the club. Miguel Almiron was sold to Newcastle before the 2019 season for a reported $27 million. Pity Martinez was sold by the club to one in Saudi Arabia during the 2020 season for a reported $18 million.

While the goal of buying, developing and selling has worked in those situations, it didn’t work for the club with Ezequiel Barco, Santiago Sosa and Franco Ibarra, among others.

Selling Almada also would move Atlanta United to the edge of a rebuild following the sale of striker Giorgos Giakoumakis to Cruz Azul for $10 million two weeks ago.

Giakoumakis and Almada are two of the three Designated Players allowed within MLS rules. Stian Gregersen is the third. Lagerwey said the club wants to sign a new striker during the coming summer window. The same presumably would be true if the club sells Almada.

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Atlanta United’s 2024 schedule

Feb. 24 Columbus 1, Atlanta United 0

March 9 Atlanta United 4, New England 1

March 17 Atlanta United 2, Orlando 0

March 23 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 0

March 31 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 0

April 6 Atlanta United 1, NYCFC 1

April 14 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

April 20 Cincinnati 2, Atlanta United 1

April 27 Atlanta United 1, Chicago 1

May 4 Minnesota 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte Independence 0 in U.S. Open Cup

May 11 D.C. United 3, Atlanta United 2

May 15 Cincinnati 1, Atlanta United 0

May 18 Atlanta United 1, Nashville 1

May 21 Atlanta United 0 (5), Charleston 0 (4) in U.S. Open Cup

May 25 LAFC 1, Atlanta United 0

May 29 Atlanta United 3, Miami 1

June 2 Charlotte 3, Atlanta United 2

June 15 Atlanta United 2, Houston 2

June 19 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0

June 22 Atlanta United 1, St. Louis 1

June 29 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

July 3 at New England, 7:30 p.m.

July 6 at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m.

July 9 vs. Indy Eleven in U.S. Open Cup

July 13 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 17 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m.

July 20 vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

July 26 vs. D.C. United in Leagues Cup, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 4 vs. Santos Laguna in Leagues Cup, 4 p.m.

Aug. 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 31 at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 14 vs. Nashville, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 vs. Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 vs. Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Orlando, 6 p.m.