Unsettled Julian Gressel didn't
get the new contract he coveted after three seasons at Atlanta United.
Instead, he was traded to D.C. United in one of the biggest MLS trades ever for allocation money -- $650,000 in TAM in 2020 and $100,000 in 2021 with additional compensation that could push the deal to in excess of $1 million if incentives based on performance are met.
Gressel, 26, joined Atlanta United FC out of Providence College for its inaugural season after being selected eighth overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, and he earned the 2017 MLS Rookie of the Year award with five goals and nine assists.
Gressel started on for Atlanta United when it won MLS Cup 2018 and the 2019 Campeones Cup and U.S. Open Cup. Over his three seasons in MLS, he led MLS with 32 assists, ahead of Michael Barrios (30), Maxi Moralez (29), Nicolas Lodeiro (28) and Diego Valeri (27).
As early as last March, Gressel said he wanted a new contract, but talks stalled. He is the third key Atlanta starter to be traded or sold in the offseason. Darlington Nagbe was traded to the Columbus Crew and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was sold to Tijuana in Mexico’s Liga MX.
"He has impressed throughout his time in MLS," said Dave Kasper, D.C. United's general manager and vice president of soccer operations, "and has been a major component to Atlanta’s success in the league since 2017. Last year, he led Atlanta in assists and chances created while also scoring eight goals so we’re looking forward to adding his impressive goal creating ability and eye for goal to our roster in 2020 and beyond."
Gressel is the latest piece in the makeover of the D.C. United attack, which lost Wayne Rooney, Luciano Acosta and Lucas Rodriguez. It also signed Argentine Yamil Asad and Peruvian Edison Flores.