If reports are to be believed, Atlanta United could soon finalize their biggest player acquisition yet. After a month or so of speculation linking San Lorenzo winger Hector Villalba with a move to the MLS expansion side, it appears as if the deal is close to coming to fruition.
According to Argentinian outlet Ole, a $2.5 million transfer fee for the 21-year-old attacker has been offered and that the deal could be finalized soon. It's unclear if the fee is being paid by MLS or Atlanta United at this point.
"Tito" Villalba has drawn interest from MLS before from the Seattle Sounders. Liga MX and Eredivisie clubs have also been sniffing around a possible transfer in the past. However, it seems like the ambitious new United will win out in the bidding process.
His contract with San Lorenzo will expire at the end of the year, but he was determined to get a transfer fee for his childhood club as a parting gift.
The biggest issue now seems to be where he'll go out on loan. The two options seem to be signing the deal and then heading back to San Lorenzo on loan until January or completing the deal and going out on loan to completely different team.
While it's probably not safe to assume this deal is all wrapped up, this rumor has made perfect sense from day one and appears to be headed to a conclusion. Always take reports and rumors with a grain of salt until the club officially announces it, but this one looks like it could happen. Fingers crossed.
UPDATE: This says the fee is around $2 million and he'll join the club in December.
Se va Tito Villalba pero en diciembre. A la MlS en una cifra cercana a los 2 millones de U$S por el 80% del pase. #SanLorenzo— Cris Pagliaro (@CrisPagliaro) July 8, 2016