Judging by the way Independiente manager Julio Falcioni spoke to Argentine media yesterday after his team’s 6-0 league win, it sounds like Atlanta United has a real chance to land a much needed center back in El Rojo’s Alan Franco.
“I do not like these kind of situations that are presented to players at some point in his career. My intention was always to strengthen it so that he could perform better and priced. There is today an important offer for him and the club,” Falcioni told reporters (translated by Google).
Atlanta United is reported to have submitted a bid of $2.8 million for Franco, with Independiente retaining 50% of the player’s sell-on value.
“I was speaking with him today. If the managers [front office] decide to carry out the negotiation, we will have to look among the young boys that we have: (Ayrton) Costa, (Patricio) Ostachuk, (Mauro) Zurita, boys who have almost no experience in First Division. We will have to look for alternatives to supply it once things are finalized.”
This reads as a tacit admission that Falcioni has accepted that the deal is likely to go through, but of course anyone in Atlanta United’s circle will certainly await confirmation from the club. Atlanta United manager Gabriel Heinze was reportedly urging the team to go through with the deal for the team’s previous center back target, Lautaro Giannetti, even after his medical evaluation showed abnormalities in his surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament.
Notably, Falcioni handed Franco the captain’s armband for the game in what seems like a ceremonial gesture for what could have been the 24-year-old’s last game with his boyhood club.
“There are times when the player says ‘it’s the opportunity of my life’ and I’m not the one to make him lose it, the managers have to talk about that with the player,” said Falcioni.
The manager added that he’d gladly see Franco get his desired move if he waited until June, after Independite concludes its season.
“I told him ‘I will accompany you to the plane in June, wait for me until June,’” added Falcioni.
But alas, it’s clear Heinze does not think his club can afford to wait, and it appears he could get his wish as Atlanta United is just a few steps away from landing the starting central defender it’s long desired.