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Report: Indpendiente halts transfer of Alan Franco to Atlanta after $4 million bid from Sao Paulo

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Independiente v Nacional - Copa CONMEBOL Sudamericana 2017 Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story inaccurately stated Independiente had “agreed to a transfer” with Sao Paulo. The story has been updated to reflect only that Franco’s transfer to Atlanta has been put on hold following receipt of the new bid.

Less than 24 hours ago, it appeared that Atlanta United had finally sealed the deal on a transfer for Alan Franco that would finally deliver manager Gabriel Heinze a prized center back to slot into the starting lineup. Now, it looks like that deal is far from certain.

TyC Sports’ Cesar Luis Merlo and Gaston Edul reported Thursday night that Independiente have halted Franco’s transfer to Atlanta after receiving a new bid from Brazilian powerhouse Sao Paulo worth $4 million for 80 percent of Franco’s future value. The deal Atlanta agreed to, which Merlo and others reported yesterday, was worth $2.8 million for 50 percent of the player’s value, with Atlanta scheduled to make additional payments in future installments.

On paper, Atlanta’s deal is worth more in total valuation, but the lump sum that São Paulo can pay now (that Atlanta doesn’t appear to be able to match due to MLS budget rules) seems to be more valuable to the Argentine club that is reportedly in debt and needs financial relief.

The latest report also states that Franco is welcoming of a move to stay in South America and play under another legendary Argentine player-turned-coach, Hernan Crespo.