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Atlanta United signs Alan Franco from Independiente

The Five Stripes finally land a center back ahead of the 2021 season.

Independiente v Club Nacional “Copa Sudamericana” 02/11/2017

Atlanta United announced today it has signed 24-year-old center back Alan Franco from CA Independiente for a reported transfer value worth $2.8 million.

The club will register Franco as a Designated Player.

According to the reports from Argentina, Atlanta will pay roughly $3 million (including bonuses) up front for the signing while owing an additional payment to Independiente amounting to 50% of any profit made in a future transfer.

“Alan is a competitive and aggressive center back who is comfortable with the ball at his feet,” said Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra in a press release. “He has established himself with more than 80 matches in Argentina’s top flight, in addition to experience in Copa Sudamericana and Copa Libertadores. We’re looking forward to further integrating him with the group and getting him match ready.”

The signing will be a significant boost to the team’s quality as Franco is expected to slot into the starting XI alongside former MLS Best XI center back Miles Robinson. Atlanta United manager Gabriel Heinze was reportedly desperate for the club to make an acquisition to fill the role after the signing of Hector David Martinez fell through in February. Following the Martinez deal collapsing, Heinze reportedly urged club officials to continue with the signing of the team’s next transfer target, Lautaro Giannetti, despite failing a medical examination by team doctors that revealed abnormalities in a surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament.

Franco may have been the third option the club turned to fill the void in defense, but he’s arguably the most proven of the three, having served as a regular starter for Independiente since he broke through as a teenager in 2017. He was a teammate of Ezequiel Barco during Independiente’s Copa Sudamericana championship run in 2017.