Atlanta United are the newest MLS expansion team on the scene and they are set to join the United States’ primary soccer league for the beginning of the 2017 season. While their new stadium may not be ready to host Major League Soccer games until the second half of the campaign, Atlanta have been granted permission to play their first round of home fixtures at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium – and fans across the state are excited to welcome an MLS franchise to the area.
As you will probably know, MLS franchises are allowed to sign designated players who are exclusive to their salary cap for the rest of the squad. These tend to be high-profile names who come over from the Premier League; Robbie Keane, David Beckham and Steven Gerrard to name a few. With that in mind, we consider a few potential candidates who could choose to join up with Atlanta ahead of the upcoming season – and there are certainly a number of seasoned professionals that make the list. While we cannot guarantee that these targets will sign for Atlanta, ALL would relish the opportunity to play in front of the passionate MLS fans.
As mentioned in an earlier article on our website, former Germany international and World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger is reportedly looking for a move to the MLS
after falling out of favour at Old Trafford. New Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has more or less excluded Schweinsteiger from all first-team activities and he has been forced to train with the United reserves in a bid to stay fit and appeal to potential suitors.
Schweinsteiger was one of the best central midfielders in his heyday and MLS fans would certainly be excited if the Atlanta hierarchy are able to agree terms with the Bayern Munich legend. At 32 years old, he still has a couple of years left in him and he should be able to cope with the demands of Major League Soccer. His future is still up in the air and Atlanta supporters will be hoping that they can swoop in to secure a deal for the Germany star.
Lennon has made just five appearances for Everton this season and two of those were in the EFL Cup against lower league opposition. While he managed to hold down a regular spot in the first team under Roberto Martinez last season, the 29-year-old has found life difficult with new Toffees boss Ronald Koeman at the helm and he could push for a move away from Goodison Park at the end of the campaign – and the MLS would certainly be a plausible landing spot
for such a talented, pacey winger.
A few blog pages have already mentioned the possibility of Atlanta moving for Lennon and it makes total sense. The former Tottenham Hotspur winger has had his fair share of injury issues in the past but he is capable of producing game-winning performances when at his best – and a fresh start in the MLS could be the making of him. While he isn’t going to be the face of the franchise, he would certainly give Atlanta a potent threat out wide.
Like Schweinsteiger, Yaya Toure has fallen victim to a new manager in Manchester. Having said that, most people saw Toure’s exclusion coming after Pep Guardiola essentially hung him out to dry at Barcelona. City, 2/1 to win the title in Betway’s football odds, are fighting for the Premier League crown and Toure is proving to be nothing but a distraction.
With the former Barca man sitting on the bench and earning mega bucks, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see City force the issue and he could be looking for a new club in the near future. And bearing that in mind, Atlanta should do everything in their power to convince the Ivory Coast star to join the franchise. Toure’s physicality and drive will stand him in good stead to be a major success in the United States.