In Part II of our series on Dirty South Soccer where we scout the Southern Hemisphere using the great power of the internet, we visit Argentina. If you missed Part I, check it out here where we unearthed four quality players Atlanta United should consider adding this offseason.
Ezeqiuel Barco - CAM - Independiente - 18 years old - 0 caps (8 U20)
Before you get your hopes up, this kid has been linked to some of the top clubs in the world, so the chances of this actually happening are slim to none. But this whole series is about dreaming, so why not? And anyway, we have Tata mother****in Martino as our manager, so any Argentine player is possible. If this kid wants to go to England, MLS is not a bad transition league to play in for a year to adjust to the language barrier and physicality. I’m not above being a stepping stone for a player this good. His close control, maneuverability in tight spaces, range of passing, and thumping shots are exquisite. This would be the dream signing (for any club).
Edit: (Jan. 19 3:03 p.m.) Always believe in your dreams.
Emanuel Reynoso - CAM/CM - Tallares - 22 years old - 0 caps
The music I’ve put up with for this project is taking years off my life... Anyway, Reynoso looks decent, and signs point to him being a realistic target. He doesn’t play for one of the Argentine powerhouses, he’s been at the club all his life (maybe he’s ready for a change of scenery?), and he fills a position of need, especially if Atlanta does lose Miguel Almiron. Reynoso doesn’t have the same physical gifts as Almiron, but he looks like a steady hand in midfield who can distribute well and keep possession. A tidy player like Reynoso would be a huge help to Atlanta, especially without a player like Almiron.
Maximiliano Romero - ST - Velez - 18 years old - 0 caps
My favorite thing about Romero is that HE ABSOLUTELY SMASHES THE BALL. Seriously, watch this kid shoot, it’s incredible. He’s another very highly touted youngster who was very close to signing with Arsenal as a 16-year old before tearing his ACL late in the process that saw him miss all of 2015. He only has 5 goals in his 30 league appearances since, so it’s been a struggle for Romero to really break through onto the global stage. That’s why a move to a league like MLS might help him gain a higher profile and set himself up well for the future. The only problem here is that he’s pretty much a pure strikers, much like Josef Martinez. That doesn’t make it impossible for them to play together, but it would require some tactical tinkering from Tata to make it work. But man, can this kid kick a ball...
Lautaro Martínez - ST - Racing Club - 20 years old - 0 caps (11 U20)
Huge, huge huge potential on this kid. Oh, and he’s pretty decent right now too. This is another dream signing, as this guy definitely has Europe in his future. But what a well rounded forward Martinez is — technically gifted, can finish from any position in the box and even outside it, and the size and speed to terrorize defenders. As you will see in the highlights though, his ability on the ball is special. He will take on center backs and make them look downright silly in 1v1 situations.
Brian Mansilla - LW/RW - Racing Club - 20 years old - 0 caps (12 U20)
Another bright young player from Racing, Mansilla would fill a void on the wings if Asad does not return to Atlanta. Even if he does return, Mansilla could definitely fit in the side. Mansilla is strictly left-footed, which means he can he can play as a winger down the left, stretching defenses with his pace a la Tito Villalba, or you could invert both he and Tito and have both players cut inside onto their stronger feet.
Matías Vargas - AM - Velez - 20 years old - 0 caps
Vargas is a player who, while he likes to create scoring opportunities, likes to utilize the entirety of the pitch. It’s almost hard to pinpoint what position he actually plays in midfield because of the way he drifts around to try to get on the ball. He’s highly technical, and almost plays in midfield in the style of an Andrea Pirlo — dropping deeper to create time and space for himself to spot and pick a pass. He is a classic distributor, and could work VERY well in a team with gung-ho attacking players like Josef Martinez and Tito Villalba.