It’s not as much as the club spent on Ezequiel Barco, but Atlanta United has again reportedly shelled out a boatload of money compared to most MLS transactions to sign its latest Argentine star.
According to a report from Argentine daily newspaper Ole, Atlanta United and River Plate agreed on a base $10 million transfer fee for midfielder Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez. The fee could rise to nearly $14 million should Martinez make 10 MLS starts, or should he be sold to a new club, which-ever comes first, along with agent fees and taxes. In addition, Atlanta United and River Player will play a friendly match in the future, with River Plate keeping the proceeds of the match.
The agreement is lower than Martinez’s reported release clause, which has been cited at both $15 million and $17 million from different outlets.
Martinez, 25, scored the third goal in River Plate’s wild 3-1 win over Boca Juniors in the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final, which took place at the Estadio Bernabeu in Madrid. Martinez decided to take Atlanta United’s offer reportedly because they “put their trust” in him, while European suitors did not. At 25, Martinez is entering the prime of his career and is a major coup for MLS.
Although not many clubs can afford to pay those fees, if more of the top South American stars are looking to come to the U.S., it will only raise the level of the league, as European sides miss out on the available talent. For Atlanta United, it leaves them in an interesting situation.
More than likely Martinez will be a Designated Player, but at the moment, Atlanta United’s three DP spots are all filled by Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and Barco. Almiron is reportedly close to a move to the Premier League, with Newcastle reportedly his potential destination, but no announcement has been made yet.
Like the LA Galaxy, Atlanta United has until March to finalize their season-opening roster with three DPs, but expect plenty of movement in January as the transfer window in Europe and abroad opens.