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Report: Alan Franco close to joining São Paulo on loan

The Five Stripes’ back line could look a little different in 2023.

SOCCER: JUL 17 MLS - Orlando City at Atlanta United Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Atlanta United could be set to see a center back who appeared 31 times this past season depart the club. According to André Hernan of UOL Esporte, defender Alan Franco is close to joining Brazilian powerhouse São Paulo on loan.

The report states that the 26-year-old Argentine would join the six-time Brasileirão champions on loan for a full season with an undisclosed purchase option at the end of the spell.

On the surface, this move makes plenty of sense. Franco joined the Five Stripes at the beginning of the Gabriel Heinze era as the new manager’s key defensive addition to the squad. After the implosion of Heinze’s tenure in MLS, Franco’s place within the team was always in flux both stylistically and production-wise.

There were spells where Franco looked lost in Atlanta’s constantly changing tactics and mentality. On the flipside, there were also times where he settled into the team nicely and had stretches of exemplary form. The inconsistency of his time with the club is why this deal seems logical.

Juanjo Purata will be returning to the team after a successful half season loan in 2022. The club are also expecting Mile Robinson to recover from a season-ending injury and reclaim his spot as one of the best defenders in the league. If this move comes to fruition, it would also open a considerable chunk of payroll that could go to strengthening the defensive core via several different mechanisms.

What do you make of this potential move? Give your thoughts below.