Whenever a new player is brought onto a top club, there will inevitably be immense pressure and expectations. With greatness comes standard, and the top teams have the highest of standards to live up to, especially if they have been winning and constantly competing at the top. Whenever a team wins a title, fans will remember the team that got them to that moment. Naturally, in the world of soccer, no team can stay dominant forever; therefore, teams must make changes. The added pressure comes when fans start to make comparisons of the new signing to a certain member of that winning squad.
Coming off a tough tournament, Atlanta United looked to the transfer market to find talent that can help them reach the level where they once were. One of their first major signings was Jurgen Damm. The club acquired the former winger from Tigres after paying a General Allocation Fee to the Houston Dynamos since the Dynamos claimed discovery rights over the Mexican winger.
Damm has been on the radar of multiple top teams in the U.S. Damm’s greatest strength is an essential part to bolster a team’s attack. Without a doubt, his advantage is in his natural athleticism. Damm is a speedster, and his pace going down the right flank has often been utilized during his time with the Tigres. Having a speedster in the team is an essential part of giving a team an extra dimension in the attack. Yes, there needs to be creative midfielders, but to get behind enemy defenses, there also needs to be someone who can make an explosive run – whether it be into the box or towards the final third in general. Damm brings this type of energy and skill to the club, and on his best day, he can beat any full-back in a footrace. Pace has been a problem with Atlanta United. With Josef Martinez still out, and given the severity of his injury and the uncertainty of reaching his top level, having a player like Damm is even more crucial for the club. What’s great about his strength is that it’s innate. Natural athleticism and speed are hard to develop and hard to teach.
But with the positives come the negatives as well. In the case of Jurgen Damm, his technical skills are his weakness. Yes, he has the natural athleticism. Yes, he has the speed to get past any fullback in the league. But speed is not enough to become a top winger in the world, let alone in the Major League Soccer. Once a player gets behind enemy lines, the work does not stop there. They must have the ability to get off a shot, a dangerous cross to the striker, or a final ball that will completely break the defensive line.
The problem Damm has is that he has yet to develop this aspect of his game. At times, the biggest criticism towards his performance is that he is often sloppy in possession. Critics and scouts say that he has had problems in providing that final cross or final ball. While this is an issue, top teams are capable of developing their players in changing their weaknesses to eventual strengths. With enough time to train, Damm can polish this aspect of his game.
Coming off a disappointing tournament, fans would want to see their team bounce back. Introducing new players is one way their club is going towards the direction of making a comeback next season. There are no doubts that Jurgen Damm will be in the spotlight next season, and there will be a lot of pressure placed upon him. Damm should be prepared and ready to prove his worth to the fans and critics alike.