Atlanta United has loaned midfielder Franco Ibarra to Argentine club Rosario Central through the 2024 season.
The news was officially announced by Rosario Central on Jan. 5 via Twitter/X along with a press release on the club website. Atlanta United announced the transaction on its end on Thursday.
#ATLUTD has loaned midfielder Franco Ibarra to Club Atlético Rosario Central of the Argentine Primera Division for the 2024 season.— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) January 11, 2024
News of the deal was first broken on Twitter/X by Fernando Carrafiello, a reporter for Radio La Red in Argentina.
Secta Deportiva journalist Uriel Lugt provided details about the deal, reporting that Ibarra would be signed to a yearlong loan with a purchase option.
#RosarioCentral tiene negociaciones avanzadas por Franco Ibarra, volante de 22 años.— Uriel Iugt (@urieliugt) January 2, 2024
➡️Su pase pertenece al Atlanta United, pero viene de jugar a préstamo en Toronto.
*️⃣Préstamo por un año y con opción de compra. pic.twitter.com/bay1VNTf0m
Ibarra, 22, made 59 appearances for the Five Stripes since his arrival from Argentinos Juniors in 2021. The first half of the 2023 MLS season saw him establish himself as an important piece in Atlanta United’s struggling midfield. He played over 1,300 minutes across all competitions for Atlanta United last year and was characterized by his strong tackles and penchant for yellow cards.
When the summer transfer window rolled around, Ibarra was the casualty of a U22 dilemma which saw Edwin Mosquera return early from his loan, causing Atlanta United to have four U22 players. The club had to move one of them to stay roster compliant, so Ibarra was sent on loan to Toronto FC for the rest of the year.
Ibarra made eight appearances for Toronto which finished 2023 last in MLS.
Moving Ibarra enables the club to make other major moves in the next couple of windows. With the reports of Santiago Sosa heading to Racing Club, the club is looking at two potential U22 player exits, leaving Mosquera as the sole U22 on the roster. According to MLS roster rules, a club with one or fewer U22 slots filled can have three full Designated Players. This means that the club could buy down Saba Lobjanidze’s contract to use his DP slot on a full DP and replace Thiago Almada with a full DP if he does end up leaving.
This means two new DPs could be added to the roster this season to really bolster the squad ahead of a season with much anticipation.
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