ATLANTA — Atlanta United today announced it has acquired Darlington Nabge and Gbenga Arokoyo from Portland Timbers in exchange for $650,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM) in 2018, $100,000 in GAM in 2019, $300,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) and a 2018 international roster spot.
“Darlington was our top target in the league this offseason and we’re ecstatic to welcome him to our club,” said Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra. “He is a perfect fit for our style of play as he has a dynamic ability to dribble out of trouble, maintain possession and make passes that bring additional players into the game.”
Nagbe, 27, was born in Monrovia, Liberia and permanently moved to the United States when he was 11 years old. He joins Atlanta after spending his entire professional career with Portland Timbers, where he was selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. He’s become known as one of the top possession players in the league and led MLS in passing accuracy (92 percent) in 2017. He also led the league in accuracy in both the opponent’s half and opponent’s final third, and finished eighth in dribbles completed per game. Since Nagbe entered the league in 2011, only former FC Dallas winger Fabian Castillo has completed more dribbles and only one other player is within 100 of Nagbe. Overall in his professional career, he’s made 214 league appearances, 203 starts and has scored 27 goals with 30 assists.
Nagbe was a 2016 MLS All-Star, 2015 MLS Cup champion and won the 2011 MLS Goal of the Year. He was also a two-time MLS Fair Play Award champion, winning the award in 2013 and 2015. During the 2015 season, Nagbe scored five goals and added five assists while missing just one match during the MLS Regular Season. During MLS Cup Playoffs that year, he started all six matches in the Timbers’ run to the championship against Columbus, where he added the eventual game-winning assist, putting Portland up 2-0 in the seventh minute.
Internationally, Nagbe earned U.S. citizenship in 2015 and made his first appearance on Nov. 13, 2015 in a World Cup Qualifier against St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Overall, he has 24 appearances and 12 starts. He scored the game-winning goal against Ecuador in a 1-0 win during a friendly on May 25, 2016. He’s added two assists against Bolivia (May 28, 2016) and Trinidad and Tobago (Oct. 10, 2017). Nagbe also helped lead the USMNT to winning the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where he started all three matches during the knockout round.
Arokoyo, 25, was acquired prior to the 2016 season. He made one league appearance with the Timbers in 2016 (Vancover Whitecaps, Oct. 23). Prior to MLS, Arokoyo spent two seasons with Turkish Süper Lig club Gaziantepspor, recording 40 appearances, one goal and three assists during that two-year span. Prior to joining Gaziantepspor, Arokoyo spent three seasons with Mjällby AIF in Allsvenskan, the top division in Sweden, recording 56 appearances and one goal. Internationally, he’s made two career appearances with the Nigerian National Team, most recently against Luxembourg (May 30, 2016).