Ezequiel Barco

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Report: Atlanta United sign Barco in record MLS deal

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Atlanta United aren’t content with a hugely successful inaugural season in MLS in 2017. Oh no.

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Tata Martino is set to land a long-term target in Ezequiel Barco, with the Argentinian teenager from Independiente said to cost a record transfer fee of $15 million for a Major League Soccer franchise.

Barco, 18, helped Independiente win the Copa Sudamericana, scoring the wunning goal in the final against Flamengo.

Multiple reports say the deal also includes a 30 percent sell-on clause should Atlanta sell the player by 2019 and 10 percent if he’s sold in 2020. The deal is said to be the second largest in Independiente history after they sold Sergio Aguero to Atletico Madrid in 2006.

This transfer continues ATL’s philosophy of giving young, attack-minded South American players a chance to showcase their talents in MLS.

Atlanta also hold the second-highest MLS transfer fee record when they signed Miguel Almiron for $9.2 million, just behind the $10 million Toronto FC reportedly paid AS Roma for Michael Bradley.

Last season the trio of Almiron, Josef Martinez and Hector Villalba tore MLS defenses apart.

Judging by the video below, Barco will do the same in 2018 as he can play on the left or in a central attacking midfield role.

Independiente rejects Atlanta United’s $12 million bid for Barco, wants $24 million

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If or when Atlanta United signs Ezequiel Barco, it will seemingly shatter the Major League Soccer transfer record.

According to multiple reports in Argentina, Independiente executive Pablo Moyano told Fox Sports Argentina radio that the club had rejected a $12 million bid from Atlanta United for the 18-year-old starlet Barco, and it wouldn’t settle for less than $24 million.

Moyano’s reasoning for the statement came from Barco’s performance in the Maracana last week, where he scored a penalty kick and led Independiente to the Copa Sudamericana title, the club’s first continental title since winning the same competition in 2010. Barco scored also in the Sudamericana semifinal against Libertad.

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It’s been reported that Barco has asked the club to accept Atlanta United’s offer so it may be a matter of when the deal becomes official rather than if, but we can be sure that the bid will rise above $12 million. Perhaps the clubs will meet in the middle at $18 million, but it will break the transfer record broken by Atlanta United just last year signing Miguel Almiron, who came with a reported $8 million fee.