It's that beautiful time of the year. Transfer season is in full force and this year Atlanta United are real players in the game. With just eight months to go before their inaugural MLS season kicks off, Darren Eales and the front office have begun to assemble a roster.
During this window, United have already secured the signatures of veterans Chris McCann and Kenwyne Jones on free transfers. All rumors and reports indicate that another player is on his way to "The A" very soon as well.
San Lorenzo's Hector "Tito" Villalba appears to be the next big signing for Atlanta United and the move could be completed/announced at any moment. If you've been out of the loop over the past month here's everything we know in the order of which we found out:
June 14: Villalba's agent gives an interview in the Argentina media detailing an offer from Atlanta United for the 21-year-old winger
June 18: We learned of more rumored interest in Villalba from Mexico and Italy. Villalba's contract was set to expire at the end of 2016 and didn't want to leave his beloved San Lorenzo without a parting gift in the form of a transfer fee. That led him to turn down a transfer to Boca Juniors.
July 8: Argentina outlet Ole reports that Atlanta United offer a $2.5 Million transfer fee for Villalba
July 9: English reports begin to surface confirming that "Tito" Villalba is close to joining Atlanta. According to the Argentinian media, he would join Club Tijuana in Liga MX on loan until December.
July 12: San Lorenzo announce that they have agreed to sell Villalba to MLS (they don't specify which club) and the player will travel to Miami to take a medical to complete the deal.
That's the last official update we've received. There have been mixed reports on when exactly Villalba will be traveling to the U.S. for his medical. He could already be here. He could still be in Argentina. He could be lost in the Bermuda Triangle. We have no idea.
What we do know is that it appears the deal is just a few dotted I's and crossed T's away from being done. The hang up appears to be where Villalba will spend the next six months on loan. Tijuana is the most rumored club. One vague report linked him to newly-promoted La Liga team Alaves. Word out of Argentina, even as recent as last night, say that he could be loaned back to Argentina with Lanus being interested but the player preferring the Tijuana option.
The loan destination seems to be very much up in the air, but his move to Atlanta United appears to be done and just waiting for confirmation. As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.