The offseason and upcoming transfer window are annoying and terrible and awful, but also great. Great because we get to dream about what new and exciting player could be joining the team — imagining them wearing the kit and scoring goals in our fantasies.
The problem, at least when it comes to fans of Atlanta United, is that these stars we dream of are likely to come from South or Central America (if past behavior and success indicates). And unfortunately, largely due to the language barrier, the coverage of those leagues and those players just doesn’t exist. We don’t know the fans or media’s opinions of them. We need to know who is excelling and who we should be targeting as the next big player to wear the five stripes.
I’ve devised a system.
I’m going to use Football Manager to guide me to learn more about these players? Why use a video game, you ask? Simple. Football manager utilizes thousands of real -life eyeballs, whether they be fans or media members who have access to watch the team regularly. In fact, I was one of them. I helped scout some (a handful) of players from Atlanta United’s own squad. So I know they are using real people and real opinions to scout all the players in the game. But don’t take my word for it. Everton signed a deal with the game’s producers to gain access to the player ratings early before the release of the game. Don’t get me wrong, they wouldn’t sign a player because of his player ratings, but it might make them pursue further with a closer eye.
And that’s what we’ll do here. We will find potential Atlanta United prospects by identifying promising players in the game and then cross-referencing real life stats and videos online to get a closer look and make a determination.
(I will primarily look for players who fit Atlanta’s transfer strategy which including younger players and positions of need. They will be categorized by nationality.)
Paulo Díaz - CB/RB - San Lorenzo - 23 years old - 8 caps
Diaz looks like an all action RB. He’s everything you’d expect from a top Primera fullback, full of energy, defensive tenacity and aggressiveness. This is a case where the FM stats seem to do justice to what he see in the film, with highly rated bravery, work rate, fitness and tackling. It doesn’t hurt that he comes from Tito Villalba’s former club. He joined San Lorenzo from Colo Colo for $1m, and made 19 appearances for El Ciclon (San Lorenzo) last season.
Nicolás Castillo - ST - Pumas - 24 years old - 9 Caps
(Warning: Audio nsfw)
Castillo looks like a very physical and well-traveled striker. In the film we can see him use his physicality to make space for himself, which would play well in MLS. His top FM stats are his physicals (balance, stength, pace), bravery and finishing. He’s a well traveled player despite being jsut 25, having spent time in five countries so far in his career. in 2014, he got a $4m move from his home club in CHile to Club Brugge in Belgium. His last full season for Brugge in 2014/15, he scored 8 in 18 appearances, but interestingly enough has been bouncing around clubs ever since. He seems to be entering the prime years of his career with Pumas, haveing scored 13 goals in 19 games since joining the club in the middle of last season.
Alfonso Parot - LB - Rosario Central - 27 years old - 0 caps
Parot is a bit older than most we’d look at, but he fills a vital need for Atlanta United at left back. Remember, Greg Garza, for all intents and purposes, is no longer an Atlanta United player, so we’d need to make a deal to bring him back to Atlanta. Parot is a very solid option to replace Garza if need be as a two-way left back who can help deliver service to the attack. The downside to this one is that he only recently joined Rosario, so it would probably be tough to pry him away.
Carlos Muñoz - ST/RW - Unión Española - 28 years old - 11 caps
Munoz is a pretty standard, all around forward who can fill a needed role on the roster if Kenwyne Jones is not with the team next season. The moeny will have to be right to bring in a pure striker because you don’t want to block Brandon Vazquez’s path to playing time, but experience up top is needed. Josef Martinez was obviously banged up for much of last season, and the team needs another body to take minutes off of him to save his legs during the season.