Almada, Atlanta Utd near Botafogo deal – Textor

Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada will play for six months at Botafogo before moving to Lyon in January 2025 once the Brazilian club finalises the deal with the MLS outfit.

That is what Eagle Football Holdings chairman John Textor has confirmed during a YouTube live chat. Eagle Football Holdings, owned by Textor, has majority stakes at Botafogo and Lyon, among other clubs.

“We don’t have the full agreement with Atlanta United yet,” Textor told ‘Visão Botafoguense’. “The player has already agreed to come to Botafogo, but we are still working out the final details with the club.”

A 2022 World Cup winner with Argentina, Almada, 23, has a contract with the MLS side through December 2026.

He is currently visiting with Textor at the American businessman’s mansion in the Bahamas.

Textor showed Almada during the live chat and the midfielder waved to the camera and gave his thumbs up after being welcomed by fans to Botafogo.

Textor, however, insisted the deal, which is set to be worth a reported €25m, is not completed.

“He is here as a guest but he is still at Atlanta United,” he said. “For now, he’s here with his fiancée. They are enjoying the Bahamas with me.”

Textor confirmed that Almada’s stay at Botafogo will be temporary.

“Thiago was recruited by our staff in France,” he said. “Big clubs were going after him from Spain and elsewhere. We intercepted and convinced him he could come to Eagle and we would take him to Europe.

“Considering the moment of the season and the Copa Libertadores, he wanted to come and compete at Botafogo and help us win titles before going to Europe. His contract foresees going to France in January.”

Botafogo previously tried to sign Almada in January without success.

“We came very close to signing Almada at the beginning of the year, but we were unable to convince Atlanta United,” Textor said. “But having a player like that, for a short or long period, draws attention to the Botafogo project and helps us recruit other players. We are building something very good and people are starting to notice Botafogo around the world.”

Almada moved to Atlanta United from Velez Sarsfield in February 2022 in a €14.5m transfer.

He has scored six goals and set up one more in 17 MLS appearances this season.

Almada was left out of Argentina’s Copa América squad but has been named in the team that will compete at the Olympic Games in Paris.

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