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Why Guillermo Barros Schelotto may not be the ideal replacement for Tata Martino at Atlanta United

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Not so fast, my friends.

Boca Juniors v Rosario Central - Superliga 2018/19 Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

Take one look at Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s Wikipedia page and what you will see is what appears to be a dream appointment to assume the mantle from Tata Martino at Atlanta United. He seems to tick all the boxes.

Excellent career as a player? Check.

Big club experience? Check.

MLS experience? Check.

Trophies? Check.

With this kind of qualification for the job, it’s no surprise that Atlanta United brass are reportedly interested in his services to succeed the influential Tata Martino as the club’s caretaker. But as Peter Coates explains in this tweet, Barros’s quality as a manager is still debatable, even despite his two Argentine Superliga titles at Boca Jrs. (Check out Peter for excellent English-language Argentine football coverage)

Coates’ detailed explanation of Barros’ career soberly points out flaws that some may voluntarily pass over when examining the Argentine’s resume. The pervasive issue that appears commonly in Barros’ squads, according to Coates, is the lack of a tangible style and system that can keep a team competitive despite injuries or, in the case of MLS, roster rules that constrict what teams can do in the transfer market. Unlike at Boca Jrs, Barros will not have a transfer budget in a different stratosphere from other teams in the league. And while Atlanta does indeed spend as much as any team in MLS on Designated Players—as evidenced by Ezequiel Barco’s league-record transfer fee and another potential record fee for Pity Martinez—Barros seems overly reliant on those players to produce and haul the team with them.

If there’s a defining trait of Tata Martino’s time in Atlanta’s it’s been his ability to get the most out of players, especially those on the lower end of the pay scale. Atlanta United’s success in the league wouldn’t have been possible without the way Tata has jumpstarted the career of Julian Gressel or rejuvenated Jeff Larentowicz into one of the team’s pivotal players.

Hopefully Atlanta United will/have talked to Barros about what he sees in the club, the squad, and his vision for the future. Barros’ resume earns him a conversation, just like several other potential hires should be interviewed to get a wide scope of possible candidates. *coughcoughussoccercoughcough* ... excuse me, something caught in my throat, where was I? Right, Barros is indeed an intriguing candidate for the job, but let’s hope that Darren Eales, Carlos Bocanegra and Co. engage in an extensive, global search and talk to several candidates before landing on the best possible candidate. For what it’s worth, I have faith that they’ll do just that.