Atlanta United is in the final stages of acquiring Portland Timbers midfielder Darlington Nagbe, sources told ESPN’s Taylor Twellman on Monday.
Atlanta’s interest in the U.S. international was first reported by Metro’s Kristian Dyer.
Sources told ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle that in exchange for Nagbe, Portland will receive $750,000 in general allocation money, $300,000 in targeted allocation money, and an additional $500,000-$600,000 in incentive-based compensation.
The deal would be the largest between MLS teams in the league’s history, surpassing the record $900,000-base deal that Orlando City paid Sporting Kansas City for Dom Dwyer in July. That deal could reach as much as $1.6 with performance incentives.
Portland will also receive a foreign roster spot, and a percentage of any future sale involving Nagbe, who has three years left on his current contract.
Nagbe has played for the Timbers for his entire professional career since being drafted second overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
The 27-year-old has long been viewed as being one of the more talented attacking players in the league, but has at times struggled to contribute much in the way of end product. He scored three goals with five assists in 27 regular-season games for Portland this season, bringing his career tally to 27 goals and 30 assists over seven seasons.
According to the data from the MLS Players Union, Nagbe made $565,000 in guaranteed compensation in 2017, but sources confirmed to ESPN FC that he recently asked for a raise that would see his salary top $1 million. Portland balked, and that was the catalyst for exploring a deal.
Nagbe has made 24 appearances for the United States and started all but one of the Americans’ World Cup qualifiers in 2017 under Bruce Arena, after declining a call-up for personal reasons under Jurgen Klinsmann in October 2016.
A year ago, he attended Celtic’s Champions League game amid reports in Scotland that the club was interested in signing him for around $1.8 million, but nothing came of the links.
Portland defender Gbenga Arokoyo will also be headed to Atlanta United in what is essentially a salary dump for the Timbers, sources told ESPN FC.
Arokoyo ruptured his Achilles tendon in preseason last year and has yet to recover, and Atlanta is expected to buy out the remainder of his contract, which paid him $155,600 in guaranteed compensation in 2017.
Portland finished first in the Western Conference last season but are looking for a new coach after Caleb Porter stepped down last month. On Sunday, the Timbers traded forward Darren Mattocks to D.C. United for an international roster spot.
Atlanta had a fine inaugural season under Tata Martino, finishing fourth in the East.
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