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Report: Sporting CP eye Ezequiel Barco as possible Bruno Fernandes replacement

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Silly season begins.

MLS: MLS Cup Conference Finals-Toronto FC at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United’s transfer strategy of buying young stars, developing them further, and selling for profit could possibly bear fruit once again. Portuguese outlet Record is reporting that Sporting CP have identified Ezequiel Barco as a transfer target this winter, if the club sell star midfielder Bruno Fernandes.

The report states that the Liga NOS stalwarts would use the massive profit from a sale of Fernandes to fund a move for the younger Barco who they see as an exciting prospect. Fernandes has been linked to many of the top clubs around Europe, specifically some of the top clubs in the Premier League. The latest rumors have him being linked to Tottenham Hotspur now that his countryman Jose Mourinho has taken over.

For Barco, a move to Europe would probably be a welcome one. He came to Atlanta United as a top prospect with ambitions of moving on. While his two seasons at the club haven’t been the most productive on a personal level, he’s been a part of winning three trophies.

On the other hand, for Atlanta United, this would likely come down to the numbers. If they can make a profit on the sale and in-turn open a Designated Player slot for the upcoming season, they could certainly entertain the idea. However, it’s unlikely they would concede on any negotiations as they are not under any pressure to sell Barco currently.

What does this rumor mean and how feasible would it be?

It passes the smell test. Sporting are an ambitious club who have a track record of bringing in young and talented players to develop and sell on to the biggest clubs in Europe. For a club like Atlanta United, this would be a logical next step to progress players on Barco’s career path.

However, with any rumor with caveats such as the sale of another player, it’s important to take it with many grains of salt. But, it’s something to talk about in this period of inactivity and intrigue regarding next season’s roster. Leave your thoughts on this possibility in the comments.