Yamil Asad is heading for a return to Major League Soccer with D.C. United, sources with knowledge of the deal told ESPN FC.
D.C. United has agreements with Argentina club Velez Sarsfield to acquire Asad on an initial loan with an option to buy, as well as with Atlanta United, where Asad played last season on loan.
D.C. will send at least $500,000 in allocation money to Atlanta for Asad's MLS rights, sources said. D.C. will also pay $300,000 in loan fees to Velez for Asad, with an option to make it a full transfer for another $700,000 at the end of the season -- matching the $1 million buy option on Asad's contract with Atlanta last year.
D.C. United will use targeted allocation money to buy down Asad's cap hit this season.
Asad scored seven goals and added 13 assists for Atlanta United last season in its debut year in MLS, becoming a key piece of an attacking line that featured MLS Newcomer of the Year Miguel Almiron and star striker Josef Martinez.
Sources said Atlanta made multiple offers to re-sign Asad this offseason, but those negotiations broke down when Asad's asking price rose well beyond what Atlanta was willing to pay. Atlanta's offers would have seen Asad more than double his $150,000 salary from 2017, with multiple guaranteed years on the contract, sources said.
After talks broke down a second time, Atlanta fielded calls from several teams, including Minnesota United and D.C. In the end, D.C. stepped up to secure Asad's services.
The 23-year-old midfielder will now trade in the red and black stripes of Atlanta for the "Black and Red" of the team in the nation's capital. Asad adds yet another dangerous option to a D.C. midfield that has been almost totally rebuilt since the summer window last season.
The 5-foot-9 midfielder will join a line that includes U.S. national team winger Paul Arriola, diminutive Argentine playmaker Luciano Acosta, U.S. national team defensive midfielder Russell Canouse and homegrown midfielder Ian Harkes.
D.C. has also added Hungarian winger Zoltan Stieber, forward Darren Mattocks, Venezuelan midfielder Junior Moreno and Costa Rican midfielder Ulises Segura over the past two transfer windows.
D.C. United finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings in 2017 with just 32 points in 34 games last season. United is set to begin play in a new stadium, Audi Field, in the District in July, but will open with 12 of its first 14 games on the road. D.C. will play its first two home games at temporary venues -- the Maryland SoccerPlex and Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium -- while completing construction on the new stadium.
Atlanta, meanwhile, will move forward with a midfield that still has plenty of attacking options, including two major additions this offseason: U.S. national team midfielder Darlington Nagbe, acquired in a trade with the Portland Timbers, and the crown jewel of its big-money transfer moves, Ezequiel Barco.
Barco, a player many consider to be one of the top young prospects in all of Argentina, joined Atlanta from Argentine club Independiente for a reported $15 million.