HUGE ATLANTA SIGNING IMMINENT
Just a few days after Atlanta United and Argentine club Independiente appeared to have reached an impasse, a deal for highly touted teenager Ezequiel Barco is “imminent”, according to the latest reports out of Argentina.
Buenos Aires-based journalist Hernan Sisto claims that the basic framework for a deal has been reached. Independiente will sell 70 percent of Barco’s rights to Atlanta for $15 million while retaining the remaining 30 percent.
This comes a few days after Argentine publication Clarin reported Independiente had rejected a second bid by Atlanta for Barco, an 18-year-old midfielder who helped El Rojo to the 2017 Copa Sudamericana championship. That appeared to anger Barco himself, who for some time has appeared in favour of an MLS move.
That bid was said to include $14 million up front, $3 million in performance-based bonus payments and 30 percent of any future sale before the close of 2019. Barco could be a prime target of major European clubs if he seizes the spotlight for Argentina the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, as many observers expect.
HOMEGROWN STAR FOR RED BULLS
New York Red Bulls have signed midfielder Ben Mines to an MLS Homegrown Player contract, making the Connecticut native the eighth Homegrown signing in the current Red Bulls squad.
17-year-old Mines joined the Red Bulls Academy as an under-14 player, and has made 16 USL appearances with Red Bulls II since August of 2016, scoring twice.
“We are excited to welcome Ben,” Red Bulls Sporting Director Denis Hamlet said in a club statement. “We have had the opportunity to have Ben around our professional teams for USL games and trainings. There is a lot of familiarity on both sides and we are glad to add another talent from the Red Bulls Academy to our professional team.”
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Mines said in a statement. “I’ve been playing here for four years. I love this club and it’s a dream come true for me. I just want to keep developing as a player and potentially make my debut for the first team, and give my all to the club.”
New York Red Bulls led Major League Soccer in 2017 in league minutes from Homegrown players, with 7,810.
QUINTANA ATTRACTS MORE ATTENTION
Less than a week after being linked to the New York Red Bulls, Uruguayan defender Yeferson Quintana is now on the radar of San Jose Earthquakes, according to a new report.
Uruguayan journalist Wilson Mendez reports that the 21-year-old centre back was “close” to moving to MLS from Peñarol, with another outlet connecting him to the Red Bulls a day later.
Mendez has since offered an update, stating that the Quakes have sought to acquire Quintana on a year-long loan with an option to buy him on a permanent basis afterward, for a mooted price tag of $1 million.
Quintana made 22 appearances for Peñarol in 2017, scoring three goals and starting 17 times as they won the Uruguayan Primera title. He’s made 26 league appearances and played 29 times for the club in all competitions since turning professional in 2016. His countryman Diego Rossi has already made the move from Peñarol to MLS this winter, with the 19-year-old forward signing a Designated Player deal with LAFC in December.
MAKING AN IMPACT
Montreal Impact are lining up a swap with their Italian sibling club Bologna that would see Algerian international Saphir Taider move to MLS and Impact midfielder Blerim Dzemaili return to Serie A, according to a new Italian media report.
GianlucaDiMarzio.com reports that Taider, a French-born central midfielder with 38 caps for Algeria, including two appearances at the 2014 World Cup, could replace Dzemaili in the Impact’s engine room for 2018 if the Swiss international returns to Bologna after a year-long loan to Montreal. Impact owner and president Joey Saputo is also Chairman at Bologna.
Taider, who turns 26 in February, has spent time at some of the biggest clubs in Italy such as Juventus and Inter Milan in addition to a brief loan stint with England’s Southampton in 2014. He’s made 10 appearances across all competitions for Bologna during their current campaign.
Dzemaili, 31, played in 22 MLS games for the Impact in 2017, notching seven goals and 10 assists and prompting his club to renew his loan arrangement for 2018. The report also mentions Pajtim Kasami, another Swiss midfielder, as an alternate option for Bologna, who currently sit in 12th place in Serie A.
Any Other Business…
Bundesliga veteran Dominik Kaiser used his winter break to visit New York City and, apparently, the digs of his team’s sister club. He commented that he could see himself playing there in future… As reported by Rundown on December 26th, David Ousted has now been traded from Vancouver Whitecaps to D.C. United. Whitecaps will receive D.C.’s second-round pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft later this month… Canadian international Sam Adekugbe has now officially transferred from the Vancouver Whitecaps to Norwegian side Valerenga.