Atlanta United defender Julian Gressel (24) reacts after he scored in the first half during Eastern Conference semifinals Oct. 24, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Photo: Hyosub Shin / hshin@ajc.com
Photo: Hyosub Shin / hshin@ajc.com

‘Frustrated’ Gressel says he wants to be a priority with Atlanta United

Julian Gressel said he loves Atlanta United and wants to remain with the club. However, he wants to do so with a new contract and he’s frustrated that talks haven’t progressed since the last unproductive conversations between his agent and Atlanta United’s front office in late summer.

“It’s come to a point where I’ve produced a lot,” he said. “I’ve played well. I should reap the benefits of that. I want to do that. If it’s here, if the club wants to make me a priority here, I would love to be here. If the club decides not to make me a priority here, I would love to go somewhere where I can be a priority.”

Gressel, 25, has 15 goals and 35 assists in 98 appearances the past three seasons. His salary during 2019 is $132,999.96.

Gressel has consistently produced no matter which of the six positions he’s played under manager Gerardo Martino or Frank de Boer. Gressel said he could see himself moving into the central midfield position played by Darlington Nagbe, who is reportedly going to be traded to Columbus.

“I’m the guy that I want to be, impacting games and our team in a positive no matter where I am on the field,” he said. “I started this year where I left off last year. I never slowed down in that sense. I’m pretty happy with that. I’m proud of that. You can’t put everyone in those different positions and have them impact the game that way.”

Atlanta United has a one-year option on Gressel’s contract for the 2020 season. That option has a deadline of Nov. 21 to be exercised. Gressel said he assumes the club will exercise the option. The trade window opens Monday and closes Wednesday. Teams have a deadline of Nov. 14 to make contract extension offers to players.

Gressel said he doesn’t know if other clubs have approached Atlanta United about him. He said he assumes they have. 

“If there are clubs interested, I’m happy to listen,” he said.

Gressel said the lack of progress on contract talks didn’t affect his performance, which is good. Gressel said the last conversations between his representation and the club weren’t “anything that led to anything.

“That’s what I was alluding to with the frustrating part,” he said. “It’s been difficult for me. There hasn’t been clarity in either direction. We will see what next few weeks or months bring.”

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