Ezequiel Barco has officially played his last game for Atlanta United, after a club spokesperson has told Dirty South Soccer that Barco’s current loan will become a permanent transfer at the end of 2023.
Barco is currently on loan at Argentine club River Plate on a two-year loan. The spokesperson told DSS that Barco had conditions in the loan that would trigger an obligation for River Plate to buy the player. Those conditions have been met and the sale will become official as of the new year.
Doug Roberson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who was the first to report this news, said that Barco is essentially off Atlanta United’s books completely at this point.
To clarify.....I said buy because that's what typically happens. Lagerwey said he wasn't sure if it's a sale or a loan, but Barco's acquisition costs are no longer being charged against Atlanta United's salary budget.— Doug Roberson (@DougRobersonAJC) February 10, 2023
The transfer fee is undisclosed at this point, but it’s highly unlikely that it will affect Atlanta United’s salary budget next season when the sale is finalized. The only way for Atlanta to add allocation money from the sale would be for Barco to be sold for more than the price he was purchased by Atlanta United — a reported $15 million deal.
The news value here is that Barco is one less headache for the club’s front office to worry about going forward as it looks to build for the future. Previous to this news, it was presumed that the club would have to continue shopping Barco around to find a permanent buyer. That is no longer the case, and Barco will continue to feature for River for the forseeable future.