Atlanta United jumped in the fray ahead of the MLS player transfer/trade window on Tuesday, acquiring veteran forward Justin Meram from Columbus Crew SC.
The trade was first reported by Ives Galarcep, with the AJC’s Doug Roberson adding that Atlanta will send allocation money and a MLS SuperDraft pick to the Crew. The club confirmed the reports, with the Crew receiving $100,000 in GAM and Atlanta’s second-round pick in the 2020 draft.
I’m told Justin Meram is on the move, hearing #Crew96 is working on a deal to send him to Atlanta United #UniteAndConquer . No word on the price. Meram would give Atlanta some midfield depth while Ezequiel Barco is at the Under-20 World Cup, and beyond. #MLS
— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) May 7, 2019
#ATLUTD is trading for Justin Meram. It’s for allocation money and a future #MLS draft pick.
Ives Galarcep was first to report the player.
— Doug Roberson (@DougRobersonAJC) May 7, 2019
A Michigan native, the 30-year-old Meram was a first-round draft pick by Columbus Crew SC in 2011, where he spent the first seven years of his career before being traded to Orlando City SC during the 2017 offseason. Professional and personal challenges saw him traded back to Columbus in the middle of the 2018 season. All told, Meram has recorded 39 goals and 37 assists across 223 MLS appearances.
“Justin is a proven commodity in MLS and we’re pleased to welcome him to Atlanta,” Atlanta United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a press release. “During his time in Columbus, Justin established himself as one of the better attacking players in the league and we expect him to come in and compete immediately.”
Meram probably won’t start much for Atlanta United – Tito Villalba should get the bulk of playing time in the place of the World Cup-bound Ezequiel Barco, with Frank de Boer saying as much during Tuesday’s training – but it does add some depth to the attack, especially with Copa America coming up. We’ll see precisely where Meram ends up in the short term with a number of matches comping up for Atlanta during a congested month of May.
Thoughts on the move? Let us know in the comments.