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DC United acquires midfielder Julian Gressel from Atlanta United

The 26-year-old scored 15 goals and recorded 35 assists in three years with Atlanta United.

Atlanta United's Julian Gressel scores a goal against Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake (18) to take a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

SPRINGFIELD, Va. — D.C. United have acquired winger Julian Gressel from Atlanta United for $1.1 million in allocation money, signing the German-born midfielder to a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth year, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. 

Reported first by Steven Goff of the Washington Post and Doug Roberson of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the versatile midfielder joins United after stalled contract conversations with Atlanta.

A fan favorite in Atlanta, Gressel’s future with the club came in to question in the offseason. Club vice president Carlos Bocanegra told AJC Atlanta wanted to sign Gressel to a long-term contract, but the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations got in the way. More specifically, Gressel wanted to be rewarded for his contributions that led to MLS Cup and Campeones Cup titles.

Gressel will receive $700,000 a year in salary, a sizable increase from his 2019 base salary with Atlanta of $114,250, according to MLS Players Association figures.

The 26-year-old scored 15 goals and recorded 35 assists in three years with the Five Stripes. He can be deployed in a number of roles on the right flank, which will add depth to D.C. United’s midfield and attack. Gressel will reunite with former Atlanta teammate Yamil Asad in DC.

D.C. United coach Ben Olsen was coy when asked about the Gressel trade at training Tuesday, saying “the Atlanta kid?” and not adding much more information.

Neither team has yet to announce the deal. Gressel will join United in D.C. for training this week before the team heads to Clearwater, Fla. for preseason training camp.

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