Atlanta United has acquired midfielder Emerson Hyndman from AFC Bournemouth on a permanent transfer, the team announced Monday.
Hyndman joined Atlanta in July and played the remained of the Major League Soccer season on loan from the English Premier League side. The loan deal came with a purchase option at the end of the 2019 campaign.
Hyndman’s new contract will keep the Dallas native in Atlanta through the 2022 season. Terms of the deal and the transfer fee paid to Bournemouth were not announced. Hyndman made $360,000 in 2019, according to the Major League Soccer Players Association’s salary guide. The permanent transfer will raise Hyndman’s salary “several hundred thousand dollars,” according to a recent report from the Athletic.
The 22-year-old made his Atlanta debut in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal win over Saint Louis FC July 11. Hyndman started and made an immediate impact, contributing four shots, two chances created and the assist on Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez’s game-winning goal.
After the game, Hyndman, who came up in the FC Dallas academy, told reporters he had no reservations about leaving Europe because of his new team’s stature in MLS.
“It was different with Atlanta,” Hyndman said. “They were very ambitious. They obviously already have a great squad. They’re shooting to win things, which is very important to me, so naturally I felt attracted to it immediately. They want to improve every year, and having won a championship, that’s exciting.”
Hyndman’s MLS debut for the Five Stripes came as a substitute in a 2-1 loss at the Seattle Sounders July 14. In all, he played in 15 regular-season games and started 10, mostly as a central attacking midfielder in Frank de Boer’s 3-5-2 formation. Hyndman made two starts in three appearances during Atlanta’s U.S. Open Cup title run and played 90 minutes and opened the scoring in the Campeones Cup win over Club América. He made one start and one substitute appearance during the Five Stripes’ MLS Cup playoffs run but did not play in the season-ending Eastern Conference final loss to Toronto FC.
Hyndman scored three goals and provided three assists across all competitions for Atlanta.
“He’s done it pretty quietly,” Jeff Larentowicz said in October. “He’s not a guy who takes over the game. He’s not a guy that you hear a lot or takes a ton of shots. He’s a quiet guy. That’s also kind of symbolic of how he plays. He just finds those tight spaces, you don’t know he’s there and then he turns and finds somebody in the attack. He’s done really well.
“He’s a bit like Darlington [Nagbe] in that he isn’t really a front-half or back-half-of-the-field player, he’s really in between and he has linked up our team very well. He continues to do those things. He’s strong late in game, whether we have a lead or the other team leaves openings, he seems to be stronger and better in those late situations. It’s a valuable thing to have.”
Atlanta traded Nagbe to the Columbus Crew last month, leaving a massive void in midfield. While he does not have the same skill set as Nagbe, Hyndman will be expected to play a part in replacing the former MLS All-Star.
“Emerson is an excellent player,” Ezequiel Barco said in October. “I think he’s shown since he’s gotten here his potential. He contributes attacking and on the defensive side of the ball. I think he’s a great player.”