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Report: Independiente agrees with Atlanta United (again) for transfer of Alan Franco

The best soap opera not on TV.

Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Update March 20, 9:38 p.m.

Just when it looked like Atlanta United’s third attempt to sign a center back had slipped through its fingers with reports of competing bids for Alan Franco, Cesar Luis Merlo is reporting the deal has been agreed to allow the transfer to happen. Franco could be departing Argentina in a matter of hours.

The two clubs will presumably continue dialog as they hash out details on other transfer bonuses and how to handle the final 50 percent share of Franco’s transfer value.

It’s likely we’ll know more details about this dramatic transfer saga soon. Hopefully much of the legwork on the Argentine’s potential arrival so they can announce this as fast as possible and help lower cortisol levels of all involved.

Another one seemingly bites the dust. Atlanta United appeared set to be spurned a third time in their attempt to sign a starting caliber centerback from Argentina. On the heels of reports that Sao Paulo have offered $4 million for Alan Franco, Cesar Luis Merlo follows up by reporting that the Five Stripes have already moved on and are looking for yet another centerback to sign.

In addition to that bombshell, Merlo adds that there were several other complications in the negotiations between Atlanta and Independiente for Franco. This isn’t too surprising considering the Argentine club’s history of difficult negotiations. Back in 2017 it was reported that they demanded more money than initially agreed for Ezequiel Barco after the club’s run to the Copa Sudamericana title. Unfortunately in this situation of dealing with a non-Designated Player signing, Atlanta have very little wiggle room when it comes to negotiating both salary and transfer fee.

While this newest development will no doubt cause frustration, it’s hard to logically lay much blame at the feet of Atlanta United when they are constantly handicapped by Major League Soccer’s salary cap restrictions. All they can do is keep trying and eventually find the right deal.

Our Joe Patrick has already taken a look at potential targets that Atlanta United could look at in the market. Alan Franco just happened to be on that list. Perhaps the next target will be too?

Stay tuned for another episode in this incredible centerback soap opera.