In all the excitement of Atlanta United bringing in players during the offseason, it is looking fairly likely that The Five Stripes might bid farewell to one of their rocks in 2017: Carlos Carmona.
Carmona was brought in on a free transfer from Atalanta just before the 2017 season and proceeded to get sent off in the first-ever match for Atlanta United.
After that was settled, he went on to be part of one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2017 season thanks to his great work and partnership with veteran Jeff Larentowicz.
Now it sounds like he could be headed home to Chile.
The move makes sense on a lot of levels. Carmona has been away from home for almost a decade and he would be returning to arguably the most dominant team in the country in Colo-Colo. At his age, Carmona might also want to settle down and if the reports on the offer are to be believed – a 3-year deal – Carmona could favor the security of a multi-year deal in his home country with a powerhouse that has already secured a spot in the Copa Libertadores, the most prestigious tournament in South America.
On top of all that, Atlanta United grabbed Carmona for free in the first place, so any move is pure profit and would help make up for the loss of general allocation money in the Darlington Nagbe trade.
Should the deal come to pass, however, we need to discuss how Atlanta United moves forward.
One idea thrown around after the acquisition of Darlington Nagbe was that Nagbe would sit higher up the field like Carmona had, and Carmona would be asked to play in front of the back line, not unlike Jeff Larentowicz did in 2017. Obviously, if Carmona is gone that task of shielding the back line now falls to Larentowicz unless Atlanta has another card up their sleeve.
For all of his talent with the ball at his feet, Nagbe doesn’t possess the same aggressive reputation that Carmona does and Atlanta may ask more of the rest of the midfield when it comes to ball retention. This would mean potentially more stress on Jeff Larentowicz and even Miguel Almiron along with the left and right backs.
That being said, Atlanta found Carmona at the 11th hour in the first place and they’re certainly capable of finding someone to fit the system should they decide that they don’t want to put all of the stress on Larentowicz shoulder for the entire season. It would be nice though to see Atlanta grab a domestic player to fill the void, simply because Carmona leaving would free up an international slot if you consider Nagbe his straight-up replacement.
There is plenty of time for Atlanta to find the replacement for Carmona and to add depth – something this team could use going into year two – and they’ll likely remain active in January. That said, it is a bit surreal to see Atlanta possibly making their first sale even though it will surely be one of many down the road.
Transfers are fickle and nothing is official until the ink is dry but if everything is signed, sealed and delivered? That is when the real work begins.