Atlanta United fans are anxiously awaiting the announcement of Ezequiel Barco’s acquisition. Independiente have already reported that the 18-year-old midfielder is moving from his now-former club to MLS, but Atlanta itself have not yet made that official.
Thanks to a radio interview from Tata Martino on Peruvian radio, we have a little bit of news on the process, as well as another piece of news unrelated to Barco.
Martino appeared on RPP Noticias and mentioned that Barco was indeed signing the paperwork in order to finalize what would be an MLS-record transfer, while speaking on how Atlanta are hoping to debunk MLS’s reputation as a “retirement league”.
#AtlantaUnited Martino right now “yes, Ezequiel is signing the paperwork. We keep working on a new idea of getting young talents to #MLS instead of players on their last stages of their careers”— John E. Rojas (@jrojasa75) January 16, 2018
#AtlantaUnited Martino right now “it make me laugh when people say that is an step back to como to #MLS when Almirón goes to Europe people will realize that there is no wrong on coming here. Barcelona paid what they paid for a player from China. It’s player quality what matters”— John E. Rojas (@jrojasa75) January 16, 2018
This would certainly lend itself to the belief that Miguel Almiron isn’t going to be in the league much longer, especially if he’s able to replicate what he did in 2017. Numerous offers from Europe were rumored to be well into the eight-figure range, meaning that Atlanta would easily set the league’s record for an outgoing transfer.
There’s also a rumor not related to Barco but involving Martino: Ecuador recently sacked manager Gustavo Quintero after a poor showing in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers saw it finish eighth in the federation. A report from Spanish newspaper Sport’s website lists Martino as potentially getting the gig, but Martino flatly denied his interest in the job.
#AtlantaUnited Martino right now “I took a call from a reporter from #Ecuador thinking that we would talk soccer and he came out with this rumor of me negotiating to take over their National Team. I had no idea about it, it was news to me and nothing true on it”— John E. Rojas (@jrojasa75) January 16, 2018
So there’s that. It would be in poor timing for Martino to leave Atlanta a mere two months before the MLS season begins anyway, but it looks like the rumor is just that: a rumor.
(h/t to John E. Rojas for tracking the interview down and translating. There’s a few more quotes on RPP’s website, but it’s in Spanish.)