Atlanta United Breaks the Bank for the Argentinian Phenom
Ezequiel Barco is headed to the MLS and will join 2nd year Atlanta United to begin the 2018 MLS Season. Atlanta paid an MLS record transfer fee of $15 million for the 18-year-old from Club Atlético Independiente in Argentina. Barco is expected to be under contract through 2021. Additionally, the transfer includes a 30% sell on clause if Atlanta sells Barco by the summer of 2020. Independiente confirmed Barco’s exit in a tweet over the weekend.
Llegaste como un chico. Te formaste en la pensión y te vas como un hombre campeón.
Todo pasa, la gloria es eterna.
— C. A. Independiente (@Independiente) January 12, 2018
The Barco Transfer completes a busy offseason for the Five Stripes. They acquired Portland Timbers Standout Darlington Nagbe in December for $1.65 million. Barco will join a star-studded attack with scoring and assist leaders Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron. Atlanta United Club President Darren Eales called the deal for Barco ‘The Crown Jewel’ of the offseason. This deal is a benchmark for MLS teams acquiring young international talent. This also could pave the way for more young international prospects coming to the MLS
The 5 foot 6 midfield/winger has scored 8 goals for the Argentinian Club before his 19th Birthday. He also scored the game-winning goal to win the 2017 Copa Sudamericana for his team.
The move will link Barco to fellow Argentinian and Manager Tata Martino and will continue the trend of South American talent. The talent includes Almirón, Martinez, Hector Villalba, Leandro González Pirez and two high-profile offseason additions in defenders Franco Escobar (Newell’s Old Boys) and José Hernández (Caracas FC). Atlanta United will be the favorites to win the 2018 MLS Cup.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) January 12, 2018