Well. That escalated fast. Within weeks after waxing poetic about Ezeqiuel Barco and denying that Atlanta United had any chance of actually signing him, it looks like that’s a distinct possibility. But Barco’s club, Independiente, are drawing out this transfer in hopes that someone — anyone — comes in to challenge Atlanta’s bid. And that could happen at any time, as we saw last winter when Oscar Romero bolted to China even after agreeing a transfer to Atlanta. Darren Eales, Carlos Bocanegra, and Lucy Rushton have surely pinpointed some alternatives in case the worst-case scenario happens.
Ok, ok, just as a complete precaution, IF y’all need some some players to take a closer look at, here are 6 players from Argentina that might fit the bill for Atlanta United:
Emanuel Reynoso - Tallares - 22 years old - 0 caps
Reynoso looks decent, and signs point to him being a realistic target. He doesn’t play for one of the Argentine powerhouses, he’s been at the club all his life (maybe he’s ready for a change of scenery?), and he fills a position of need. Reynoso profiles as physically similar to Barco, neither of which are the fastest, but both relatively quick and well rounded strength. A tidy player like Reynoso would be a huge help to Atlanta.
Alejandro Romero Gamarra - Huracan- 22 years old - 0 caps (5 U20)
Gamarra is a smallish creative attacking midfield who shows flashes both with the ball at his feet and creating for others. He seems to me like a similar player to Maxi Moralez from New York City FC. He also seems to enjoy having a pop from distance, as you can see in the video as well as on his Football Manager profile.
He’s also a pretty good passer. DSS’s own Tiotal Football put together this handy chart (with commentary from TF).
Unfortunately, Atlanta would likely have to act quickly in order to get a deal done. New York Red Bulls are reportedly close to a $7 million deal.
Joaquín Torres - Newell’s Old Boys- 20 years old - 0 caps
Joaquin Torres comes from Tata Martino’s former club, Newell’s Old Boys in Rosario, Argentina. The added bonus is that as a Super Young Designated Player (or whatever they’re called), Torres would only count $150k against the salary cap, as would Barco. The downside to this one is that Torres is so young and so raw, that it looks like it’d be a gamble. It just goes to show how good Barco is that he’s so polished for being so young. Barco has a long way to go tactically, but he is well put together mentally and he already shows an enormous amount of confidence from an 18-year old.
Yamil Asad - Velez - 23 years old - 0 caps
I don’t know if y’all have ever heard of this guy, but I think he’d be decent.
In all seriousness, it seems as if Atlanta may have been trying to protect him in the expansion draft by reportedly trading away an international slot to LAFC. It looks as though he will start preseason with Velez when its camp begins December 27. But I’m sure they have him on speed dial, and at least with Asad you know know exactly what you’re getting. The downside is purely down to ability. If he costs a $2 million transfer fee as has been reported, You’re likely looking at DP status for Asad. Ideally, Atlanta would probably like to spend a little more extravagantly on a designated player.
Iván Colman - Argentinos Jrs. - 22 years old - 0 caps
From the highlight reel, it appears Colman naturally plays deeper in central midfield. But while he’s not a like-for-like type of player, he’s appears to be a very good distributor with an ability to unlock defneses from the middle of the field. Again, Colman is arguably just a TAM signing and not a DP, but he’s one to keep an eye on.
Matías Vargas - AM - Velez - 20 years old - 0 caps
Vargas is a player who, while he likes to create scoring opportunities, likes to utilize the entirety of the pitch. It’s almost hard to pinpoint what position he actually plays in midfield because of the way he drifts around to try to get on the ball. He’s highly technical, and almost plays in midfield in the style of an Andrea Pirlo — dropping deeper to create time and space for himself to spot and pick a pass. He is a classic distributor, and could work VERY well in a team with gung-ho attacking players like Josef Martinez and Tito Villalba. He’s one of the few players you see that looks very polished and confident at such a young age. He’s my most preferred Barco alternative, even though he plays a different type of role.