East Asia Japan

Atlanta United Aims Sly Dig at Urawa Reds as Giakoumakis Goes Stateside

Major League Soccer side Atlanta United has aimed a sly dig towards Urawa Red Diamonds of the J.League 1 after Atlanta has successfully snatched Greek striker Giorgios Giakoumakis from underneath Urawa’s noses, with the former Glasgow Celtic man signing a 3-year deal with the Five Stripes.

Following Giakoumakis declining the opportunity to extend his contract at Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic, both Urawa and Atlanta were the frontrunners to obtain the 28-year old’s signature.

Urawa were needing for a new striker after they had loaned out Kasper Junker to fellow J1 side Nagoya Grampus and they hoped Giakoumakis could fill in Junker’s shoes in new head coach Maciej Skorza’s lineup.

And it seems that Urawa were the ones who will land Giakoumakis, after Celtic were reluctant to let the Greek striker go out on loan to Atlanta and a £3.5m fee was agreed between both the Bhoys and the Red Diamonds. Japanese outlet Sponichi even reported that Giakoumakis was heading to Saitama to have his medical for Urawa.

But in the last minute, Atlanta came in with a new and improved deal that would see Giakoumakis move to the USA in a permanent move worth $5.2 million, which was agreed by all parties involved.

In a sly dig towards Urawa’s failure to secure their dream man, Atlanta posted a video announcing Giakoumakis’ arrival at the club.

The video saw a Delta Airlines plane flying in the sky, with the captain announcing that there will be “slight changes to the flight plan” which will saw the plane being redirected from Saitama to Atlanta.

Despite losing out on Giakoumakis, Urawa still had a decent transfer window. Toshiki Takahashi and Shun Yoshida arrived in Saitama from Kyushu sides Roasso Kumamoto and Oita Trinita respectively down in the J.League 2, while Shinzo Koroki made his return from his loan spell at Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo as Norwegian defender Marius Holbraten made the switch from Bodo/Glimt to Urawa.

However, Urawa had to lose star midfielder Ataru Esaka, who joined South Korean giants Ulsan Hyundai.