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Report: Atlanta United pay $1.7 million for a player they might not acquire

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So this is news.

InfoPincha, a website based around Primera Division club Estudiantes(the same club that Leandro Gonzalez Pirez came from), is reporting that Atlanta United has paid $1.7 million to have priority buying rights for winger Lucas Rodriguez for the next two transfer windows. This means that if another club looks to buy Rodriguez at any point before the end of the 2018 summer transfer window, Atlanta can choose to match their offer. Essentially, it's an insurance policy of sorts.

The $1.7 million figure is reportedly 25% of what Estudiantes believe Rodriguez is worth. Meaning, if Atlanta wishes to buy the Argentine, they'll likely have to pay around a $6.5 to $7 million transfer fee. If Atlanta decided not to match a proposed transfer fee of another club, they would still forfeit the original $1.7 million.

This is a very interesting concept. It's hard to imagine a scenario where the Atlanta front office would spend that kind of money without ultimately buying Rodriguez in the future. The issue is how would the club be able to add the 20-year-old without selling one of the current Designated Players, buying down one of their contracts, and/or allowing Yamil Asad to return to Velez.

Another interesting aspect to think about is if Atlanta does buy Rodriguez, would they do it in the winter or summer transfer window? If done in January, Atlanta would have to act fast in making room for the player. A summer deal would make sense if the plan is to sell Miguel Almiron or Josef Martinez for a much bigger transfer fee than they would normally get in a winter window(historically, European clubs don't spend nearly as much on winter signings than they do summer). However, it's not ideal to take a key player out of the first team midway through a season just to bring in a player that doesn't know the system yet.

If the report is true, let's see how the front office works their magic.

Rodriguez has made 50 first team appearances for Estudiantes since joining the first team in 2014 and is a mainstay for Argentina's U20 national team.