Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez has finally arrived at Atlanta United.
The Argentine playmaker becomes the latest Designated Player to arrive at the reigning MLS Cup champions from South America, as the 25-year-old joined from River Plate for a reported $17 million transfer fee.
If that fee is correct that is the highest-ever transfer fee paid by an MLS club for a player.
Martinez was crowned the top player in South America in 2018 and his arrival will likely see Miguel Almiron leave ATL in the coming days. The latter has been long-linked with a move to Newcastle United in the Premier League.
Discussing Pity’s arrival in MLS, Atlanta’s vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said he is “an attacking player who can play wide or centrally. His abilities complement our style of play and we expect him to make a smooth transition to MLS.”
Pity is delighted to finally seal his move to Atlanta and play for their new manager Frank De Boer.
“I’m very excited to come to Major League Soccer and to join Atlanta United,” Martinez said. “The club has shown a lot of trust in me and I’m looking forward to working with Frank de Boer and my teammates to continue making history at the club.”
This is a big moment for Atlanta and MLS.
Being able to sign Pity from River Plate continues their strong link with the South American market as Almiron and Josef Martinez have been stars, while Ezequiel Barco played a key role later in the season and towards MLS Cup in 2018 after his arrival for $15 million. Barco’s signing was the previous record transfer fee for MLS until Pity’s arrival, with the teenager a purchase for the future. Pity will be a star in MLS right here, right now.
Signing the top player in South American soccer in his prime is a significant step for MLS and it cements Atlanta’s incredible quality, and depth, in their squad.
Despite the departure of Gerardo “Tata” Martino as manager last month — after he led them to two hugely successful opening years as a franchise — FDB will have the best squad in MLS by a country mile to work with.
It is pretty clear that Pity Martinez will become one of the faces of MLS in the years to come.