Atlanta trades Julian Gressel to D.C. United for up to $1.1m in allocation money

D.C. United have acquired midfielder Julian Gressel from Atlanta United in exchange for up to $1.1 million in allocation money, the club announced on Tuesday.

The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution were the first to report the news.

Atlanta will receive $650,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) for 2020, another $100,000 in TAM for 2021, and a further $350,000 in allocation money if certain incentives are met.

Up to $250,000 of the incentive-based allocation money looks easily attainable, while the remaining $100,000 is a long shot, meaning the Five Stripes will likely receive a total of $1 million in allocation money for Gressel.

Gressel, 26, had been engaged in a contract dispute with Atlanta for much of the offseason, with the midfielder seeking a raise from the $114,000 salary he received in 2019.

A source with knowledge of the deal said that while Gressel has not yet signed a contract, the two sides are negotiating a new deal that will pay Gressel around $700,000 per year. The salary amount was first reported by Pro Soccer USA.

Gressel scored 15 goals and added 35 assists during his three seasons in Atlanta, a spell that included MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup titles. He also proved versatile, playing a variety of positions including right midfield, right back and center midfield.

His versatility should stand him good stead with D.C. United, which in the wake of losing Wayne Rooney, Luciano Acosta and Lucas Rodriguez during the offseason recently added Peruvian midfielder Edison Flores from Pachuca for $5 million.

Coming off a season in which they lost to Toronto in the Eastern Conference final, Atlanta United also traded Darlington Nagbe to Columbus and sold defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez to Tijuana in Mexico's Liga MX.

Now, with Gressel being dealt away, Atlanta United is undergoing a big overhaul heading into Frank de Boer's second season as coach.

Atlanta United is already in training for its second straight appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League, which begins with a two-legged matchup against Honduras club Motagua that starts on Feb. 18.

The MLS opener is Feb. 29 at expansion club Nashville SC.