Miguel Almiron

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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.

MVP favorites Valeri, Villa headline 2017 MLS Best XI

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All five Major League Soccer MVP finalists — Diego Valeri, David Villa, Nemanja Nikolic, Sebastian Giovinco and Miguel Almiron — have been named to the 2017 Best XI squad.

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The attacking talent doesn’t stop there, as the above quintet is joined by Toronto FC midfielder Victor Vazquez and Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez.

Tim Melia and Ike Opara, who were previously named Goalkeeper of the Year and Defender of the Year, respectively, for their parts in leading Sporting Kansas City to the best defensive record in 2017, were chosen alongside Kendall Waston and Justin Morrow of the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC, respectively.

Yes, that is indeed a rarely-seen 3-3-4 formation which very closely borders on being a 3-0-7. My personal ballot, which features a defensive midfield-type and was submitted on Oct. 22, reads as follows:

Goalkeeper: Tim Melia

Defenders: Ike Opara, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Kendall Waston

Midfielders: Diego Valeri, Ignacio Piatti, Victor Vazquez, Cristian Roldan

Forwards: David Villa, Nemanja Nikolic, Josef Martinez

Reserves (not on ballot): Alex Bono, Chris Mavinga, Sacha Kljestan, C.J. Sapong

Miguel Almiron knew nothing about MLS, everything about Tata

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Miguel Almiron’s future is going to be a big part of the story for as long as he’s in Atlanta United, but his past is in focus following another cool post in The Players’ Tribune.

It’s a cool read, for sure, to examine Almiron’s rise from “too skinny” kid without a club to one of the top prospects this side of the Atlantic Ocean, but the story of why he came to Atlanta is an argument for the “big name” manager (Tata Martino in this case).

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Before the Paraguayan youngster was the talk of the transfer market, MLS Newcomer of the Year, and the No. 1 jersey sale in the league, he was being recruited to the Georgian expansion outlet.

“I didn’t know much about MLS. I didn’t know where Atlanta was. I didn’t know anything. But Tata was manager, and that was all I needed to know.”

Given that Martino arrived not too long before Almiron, the following Tweet makes the point I’ve been trying to make as well as anyone:

Miguel Almiron named MLS Newcomer of the Year

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Unsurprisingly, one of Atlanta United’s biggest stars took home some hardware on Monday after a stellar first season in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: Previewing the MLS conference finals ]

Atlanta attacker Miguel Almiron was named MLS Newcomer of the Year today, beating out Chicago Fire forward Nemanja Nikolic and teammate Josef Martinez for the honor.

Almiron, who joined Atlanta from Argentine side Lanus, netted nine goals and added 14 assists for the Eastern Conference squad in 2017 and helped guide the club to the MLS Cup Playoffs after finishing fifth in the East.

The 23-year-old received an 37.38% average of the vote for the award, which was compiled based on votes from a combination of media members, MLS players and executives. Nikolic finished second with 24.92 percent, while Martinez checked in at number three.

Atlanta’s Miguel Almiron tops 2017 MLS jersey sales list

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Atlanta United clearly made a big splash in Major League Soccer during its first season, and one of its players sat at the top of this year’s jersey sales list.

[ MORE: MLS provides update on Beckham’s Miami franchise ]

Attacker Miguel Almiron checks in at the number one position for Atlanta, while teammate Josef Martinez is third in the breakdown. Overall, Atlanta boasts five players in the top 25, second-most of any team in MLS.

The only team that had more players? The defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders, who look to be on course to get back to the final this season. The Sounders have six players inside the top 25, including Jordan Morris, Clint Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro — each of whom are inside the top 10.

Below is the list of 25-most purchased jerseys for the 2017 season, as provided by MLSStore.com.

25. Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
24. Yamil Asad (Atlanta United)
23. Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
22. Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders)
21. Diego Chara (Portland Timbers)
20. Roman Torres (Seattle Sounders)
19. Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
18. Greg Garza (Atlanta United)
17. Christian Ramirez (Minnesota United)
16. Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers)
15. Hector Villalba (Atlanta United)
14. Dom Dwyer (Sporting KC to Orlando City)
13. Jack Harrison (New York City FC)
12. Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
11. Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders)
10. Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders)
9. Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC)
8. Kaka (Orlando City)
7. Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
6. Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders)
5. David Villa (New York City FC)
4. Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders)
3. Josef Martinez (Atlanta United)
2. Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire)
1. Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United)