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Atlanta United acquires Brooks Lennon from Real Salt Lake

The Five Stripes parted with $300,000 in allocation money for Lennon.

Aug 24, 2019; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake forward Brooks Lennon (12) reacts after their second half goal against the Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)
Aug 24, 2019; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake forward Brooks Lennon (12) reacts after their second half goal against the Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta United has acquired Brooks Lennon from Real Salt Lake in exchange for $150,000 in general allocation money and $150,000 in targeted allocation money, the teams announced Monday afternoon. 

RSL will collect a sell-on fee should Atlanta transfer the player outside Major League Soccer. That fee was not disclosed.

Lennon, 22, appeared in 86 games, starting 63, for RSL over three seasons. He played as a right winger in 2017 before taking on a defensive role and becoming the team’s first-choice right back in 2018. Lennon also played sparingly as a left winger and left back during his time in Salt Lake City. Though he saw a decrease in minutes last season — starting 16 games in 28 appearances — hat versatility was an attractive trait for the Five Stripes.

“Brooks is a versatile young player, and we are pleased to add him to our club,” Atlanta vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said. “In addition to his vast experience on the international level with U.S. youth national teams, he has proven to be a reliable starter in MLS. He can play both fullback and wing positions and we expect him to have an integral role in our long-term plans.”

Lennon has played for the United States men’s national team at the under-17, U-18, U-20 and, most recently, U-23 levels.  

The Paradise Valley, Ariz., native came up in Real Salt Lake’s academy before signing with English giant Liverpool. RSL acquired Lennon on loan in 2017 and signed him to a permanent, homegrown contract the following year. 

“Brooks has been an integral part of the RSL family for years, starting with our academy and excelling at every level along the way,” Real Salt Lake interim general manager Elliot Fall said. “To be able to get an offer of this value speaks to his development as a player. We are in the fortunate position that we have enough depth to make a trade like this and the allocation money we acquired creates an opportunity to further improve our roster.”

In Atlanta, Lennon immediately provides depth and competition at fullback. He also could be an option at wingback when manager Frank de Boer deploys his team in a 3-5-2 formation.

Before announcing the move, Atlanta president Darren Eales hinted at Lennon’s acquisition with one of his trademark cryptic tweets. “Imagine … a new signing,” Eales posted along with two music note emoji. It was a reference to John Lennon’s hit song “Imagine.”

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