The Atlanta United-Argentina connection is popping up again as the team looks to improve after the extremely successful 2017 season. To that end, the Five Stripes have been linked with Newell’s Old Boys defender Franco Escobar. According to Argentine outlet TyC Sports, Escobar has a three year deal on the table and would join United in January barring any obstacles. The report also mentioned that Tata Martino had been looking at the 22 year-old last season.
The transfer has also been reported by Argentine sports radio host Gonzalo Perez Benitez. While TyC noted the deal would go through if there were no obstacles, Benitez says the player has a verbal agreement to join the club:
#Newells El traspaso de F. Escobar al @ATLUTD ya esta cerrado de palabra. Firmaria x 3 temporadas - alrededor de 1millon dolar 70% del pase. pic.twitter.com/pxPXmVruXj— Gonzalo PerezBenitez (@Gonperezbenitez) October 31, 2017
Benitez notes that the transfer fee for Escobar would be for $1 million. It seems like his rights are held by a third party and that Atlanta gets a discount with Escobar’s true value at somewhere closer to $1.43 million. If United were to then sell him on, the third party would get 30% of the future transfer fee.*
As far as how he could fit in with the team, Escobar is a versatile defender who is primarily a center back that can slide to right back if need be. What this means for other defenders on the team like Tottenham loanee Anton Walkes, veteran center back Michael Parkhurst, rookie Miles Robinson, or outside backs Tyrone Mears, Mikey Ambrose, and Mark Bloom is yet to be seen. However, if there is one thing that Tata Martino, who played a target forward at right wing and a defensive midfielder at left wing at times this season, values it is versatility.
Escobar has versatility and talent in spades as this video aptly demonstrates:
*Dirty South Soccer resident finance guru John K. Fuller helpfully detailed this practice for the writing of this article.