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Atlanta United appoint former Manchester United star as new manager

Major League Soccer side Atlanta United have confirmed the appointment of Gabriel Heinze as their new manager.

The ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid star has taken charge from Stephen Glass, who was the interim head coach from July this year after the departure of Frank de Boer by mutual consent.

The Argentine has become the club’s third permanent manager in history after De Boer and Gerardo Martino and he has the task of reversing the club’s fortunes following a dreadful 2020 MLS campaign.

The Eastern Conference side experienced their highest point when they won the 2018 MLS Cup in only their second season as an expansion franchise and that was followed by a runner-up finish last year.

However, no one would have predicted their poor performance in the recently-concluded campaign where they finished 12th in the Eastern Conference with just 22 points from 23 matches.

Unlike de Boer or Martino, Heinze does not have a rich CV of managing elite European sides, but he comes off a credible season in the Argentine top-flight where Velez Sarsfield finished third in the standings.

Earlier this month, club president Darren Eales stated that the next head coach would have the right to make his own signings and Heinze perfectly fits into the role, given he is someone who prefers a hands-on approach.

Considering his recent experience in the Primera Division, Heinze may look into players from his home country to bolster the squad and the focus could particularly lie on his former side.

Under his management, the likes of Nicolas Dominguez and Thiago Almada had standout seasons with Sarsfield last term and that earned the former a move to the Serie A with Bologna.

Almada, 19, continues to remain in the ranks of Sarsfield and he is an attacking midfielder by trade. The teenager bagged 10 goals from 32 appearances across all competitions last season.

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