Update Jan. 24 1:20 p.m.:
Franco Ibarra will play for Atlanta United in 2021, according to Cesar Luis Merlo who is now reporting that the deal has been finalized.
Now we just await the final confirmation from the club, which we assume will come this week.
Atlanta United is finally starting to get busy in the transfer market as the team gets set to start training camp (hopefully) sometime within the next few weeks.
Thursday afternoon, our good friend Cesar Luis Merlo, who so often brings us joyous good news, reported that the club is on the verge of a deal with Argentinos Juniors that will bring 19-year-old midfielder Franco Ibarra to Atlanta.
(Note: the photo used by Merlo is when Ibarra signed a contract with his current club Argentinos Juniors, not pertaining to this potential transfer).
Finances of the deal are not known at this point, but it stands to reason that a player like Ibarra is one that the club would sign with the soon-to-be-implemented U-22 initiative in mind. MLS has not confirmed what exactly the benefits will be of the new rule, but The Atheltic’s Paul Tenorio reported in early January it would “allow teams to sign up to three players under the age of 22 with no limitations on acquisition costs, as long as the player’s salary is less than the maximum budget charge, which is set to be $612,500 in 2021. The under-22 initiative player signings would then be counted at a reduced budget charge similar to young designated players.”
Ibarra is unlikely to command a salary beyond the maximum threshold, allowing him to fit into the cohort of U-22s on Atlanta United’s roster.
Still very green in his professional career, Ibarra has logged just under 1,000 total minutes in the Argentine top flight. Ibarra is a defensive-minded midfielder that has been one of the club’s top priorities over the summer.