The Oscar Romero saga has been a rude welcoming for Atlanta United fans to the Silly Season. It went from a done deal to nothing very quickly. Let’s get caught up on Romero and some other rumors in this new edition of Talkin’ Dirty.
Important reminder: Rumors are just that -- rumors. None of this has been confirmed as legitimate news or fact, it's just circulating around the rumor mill. Remember, take it all with a grain of salt.
Also, it is Atlanta United club policy to not comment on rumors.
We have to start with Romero and try to make sense of what happened and if there’s any chance that he could still end up in Atlanta.
This morning, Tata Martino was on the Fútbol 780 show on 780 AM in Paraguay and shed some light on the situation.
Gerardo Martino en #Futbol780: "Cuando ya creíamos que Óscar venía a jugar con nosotros, apareció esto del equipo chino".— Fútbol 780 (@Futbol780) December 16, 2016
Atlanta United thought that the deal to bring Romero to MLS was done. The Chinese offer came in after Atlanta had negotiated with Racing and Romero. As we have reported, it appears that the transfer offer is higher and Romero’s salary could potentially be double what was offered by Atlanta.
Gerardo Martino en #Futbol780: "Ya hice todo lo que podía hacer, pero creo que Óscar Romero se nos va a China".— Fútbol 780 (@Futbol780) December 16, 2016
Martino said that United did all that they could do, but he thinks that Romero is going to China. It appears that it might be Shanghai Shenhua, not Shanghai SIPG, who will end up with Romero and recent reports have him going to a French club on loan for a year before going to China. Chinese Super League clubs have strict quotas on foreign players, and Shenhua might not have a place for Romero at the moment.
Nothing has been announced officially yet, but the likelihood of Romero coming to Atlanta has greatly decreased in the last 48 hours.
The possibility of Andres Guardado ending up in Atlanta seems even more remote at this stage. This is a deal that went from seemingly completed with a fall loan to Atlas arranged, to postponed, to now off the table.
If Guardado comes to MLS, it appears to be as a Los Angeles FC (starting in 2018) player or with the Chicago Fire. We’ll have to wait and see if the Romero news changes things, but it doesn’t look likely from here.
Barrios is a 32-year-old veteran of the Paraguayan national team who is currently with Palmeiras in Brazil. He appears to be under contract there through July.
O Atlanta United será comandado por Tata Martino, já contratou o meia paraguaio Almirón e teria interesse também em Lucas Barrios.— Gustavo Zupak (@gustavozupak) December 15, 2016
The Barrios connection is a strange one, not because he would be a poor signing, but because he would be a similar forward option to what you already have in Kenwyne Jones. Brandon Vazquez is also available as a second target forward option. This one seems strange, unless other moves are in the works.
Barrios is not getting sufficient playing time at Palmeiras and another rumor has a return to Colo Colo in Chile as a possible landing spot for him.