Caleb Porter has his man, for the third time.
The Columbus Crew SC head coach, who will enter his second season in charge of the Black & Gold in 2020, wanted Darlington Nagbe on his roster. According to reports, Nagbe wanted to come to the Crew and reunite with his former college and MLS head coach.
Now that has happened.
The Crew officially announced the trade for Nagbe on Wednesday after The Athletic initially reported the deal a week prior. Those reports were confirmed by Massive Report. Columbus will send $700,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, $150,000 in General Allocation Money and an international roster spot for the 2020 MLS season to Atlanta United for the midfielder. The Crew will also pay Atlanta $200,000 in TAM for the 2021 MLS season and should Nagbe meet certain performance conditions, United will receive additional allocation money.
“Darlington Nagbe is a proven winner and the type of player who can be a difference-maker in our team,” Crew President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in the press release. “In addition to his skill set, we believe that Darlington is someone whose character and values fit well within our organization. As we stated heading into this offseason, we continue to look both domestically and internationally for players that will make our team better, and we believe Darlington is an important part of those efforts.”
The allocation money for Nagbe is set to be among the most received by a club in MLS history. According to reports, the Philadelphia Union paid $1.2 million in allocation money for winger David Accam in 2018. Nagbe’s total of $1.05 million paid by the Crew is the same amount Atlanta paid for Nagbe to acquire the midfielder from the Portland Timbers two seasons ago. Depending on the incentives, this deal could eclipse that mark and come closer to the Union’s payment for Accam.
Nagbe, 29, is a nine-year MLS veteran. He is a two-time MLS Cup winner (2015, 2018) and also captured one Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (2109) and a Campeones Cup (2019).
In total, Nagbe, the second-overall selection in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, has appeared in 270 regular season Major League Soccer matches with 258 starts. The midfielder has 29 goals and 37 assists in his career split between his time with the Timbers and United.
While working under Porter in Portland, Nagbe made 214 regular season appearances (203 starts) while registering 27 goals and 30 assists. He won an MLS Cup in 2015 and took home the MLS Goal of the Year award in 2011. Nagbe was also named the Timbers’ Players’ Player of the Year in 2013 and twice the recipient of the MLS Fair Play Award (2013, 2105). The midfielder was an MLS All-Star in 2016.
In his two seasons in Atlanta, Nagbe made 56 regular season appearances (55 starts), including playing in 33 games (32 starts) last season. During his time with United, Nagbe scored two goals and registered four assists and helped the team win the 2018 MLS Cup, the 2018 MLS Eastern Conference Championship, the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the 2019 Campeones Cup, the first four trophies in the franchise’s existence.
Nagbe also has plenty of experience with the United States Men’s National Team. Since making his debut against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in November of 2015, the midfielder has 25 caps at the senior level, with one goal and two assists. Nagbe was a part of the 2016 Copa America Centenario and the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup roster for the Americans.
Now a member of the Crew, Nagbe will reunite with Porter, stepping into a familiar position in the midfield. The move for Nagbe is one of many expected by the Black & Gold this offseason after the team failed to qualify for the 2019 MLS Cup playoffs.