ATLANTA STRIKE DEAL
What Rundown has begun to refer to as ‘The Ezequiel Barco Transfer Saga’ appears to be nearing its end, with Atlanta United reportedly getting their man. ESPN.com reports that Independiente have reached a transfer agreement with Atlanta over Barco, the talented 18-year-old Argentine that the MLS club has been pursuing heavily this offseason. The deal for the attacking midfielder allegedly includes a transfer fee worth $15 million and 30 percent of any future transfer before December 2019, which will become 10 percent for any future transfer that takes place in 2020 or beyond.
The reports also appeared in two other major Argentine outlets, TyC Sports and Olé. The latter indicated Barco would travel to the United States this weekend and sign a five-year contract. The transfer fee, as reported, would be the largest in MLS history, surpassing that of Michael Bradley in 2013. Toronto FC reportedly paid AS Roma $10 million for Bradley that year.
Independiente later posted a congratulatory message to Barco on his departure.
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
Barco is coming off an impressive season with Independiente in which he helped the Argentine side win the Copa Sudamericana. He has started five of the eight league games he has played in and scored once in the current campaign. Last season, he netted four goals in 30 Superliga appearances.
LAFC SEE VALUE IN FREE TRANSFER
While Atlanta United are throwing their weight around with their chequebook, Los Angeles are set to sign defender Steven Beitashour on a free transfer.
The Los Angeles Times’ Kevin Baxter first reported the move and it was later corroborated on by the Toronto Sun’s Kurt Larson and Sportsnet’s John Molinaro.
The 30-year-old is currently a free agent, having played the last two seasons for Toronto FC. He was part of the squad that won the first domestic treble in MLS history with TFC, although he was sidelined part of the season with an unusual injury sustained during a collision in a match that damaged his pancreas and required hospitalization. He did make a full recovery and returned to action during the 2017 season.
Beitashour, an Iran international who played at the 2014 World Cup, previously played in MLS for the Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes. The California native, if he signs with LAFC, will be reunited with former Whitecaps teammate and opposite fullback Jordan Harvey, who signed a free agent deal of his own already this offseason.
VIEIRA STILL IMPROVE NYFC SQUAD
New York City FC may boast one of the more talented attacks in MLS, but they’re not resting on their laurels after scoring 56 goals in 2017. NYCFC have signed Ismael Tajouri, a 23-year-old right winger, from Austria Wien. Tajouri, who can also play behind a central striker, has spent his entire professional career in Austria and made 14 starts in 17 appearances this season. Though he has not found the back of the net this campaign, he scored a career-high 10 goals across all competitions in the 2016-17 season.
“We wanted to add more power, pace and skill in one-v-ones to our frontline and Ismael really fulfills this criteria – he is a very talented player who will compete for minutes,” head coach Patrick Vieira told NYCFC.com. “He’s got good experience for his young age which he can bring to this team and I’m really looking forward to working with him. Of course, there are areas of his game he needs to work on but I strongly believe that we have a solid structure around us to help all of our young talented players improve.
“Ismael a dynamic, direct player who can score goals and his work ethic is really good. He’s another player that we were chasing for a long time and for that reason we’re really pleased that this deal has finally happened.”
Born in Switzerland to Libyan parents, Tajouri moved to Austria at age 9 and received his Austrian passport in March 2016. He has represented Libya’s Under-20 national team but has yet to earn a senior international cap. Tajouri’s signing follows NYCFC’s addition of Beninese defender Cedric Hountondji earlier this week and represents NYCFC’s sixth signing of the offseason.
ANOTHER HOMEGROWN FOR FC DALLAS
Rundown can only look on in admiration as FC Dallas announce another signing of a homegrown talent, this time defender Jordan Cano joins the club, becoming the 21st Homegrown player signed by the team in its history.
The 21-year-old recently completed a four-year career at nearby Southern Methodist University, starting 75 games for the Mustangs. In 2017, the centre back was named AAC Defender of the Year as SMU won the conference title and reached the NCAA tournament.
Cano joined the FC Dallas academy in 2011 and captained the U-18 side in 2014, which went on to make the U.S. Soccer Development Academy national semifinals that year. He is also a US youth international, having played for the US U-17s.
Any Other Business…
Chicago Fire are close to agreeing a new contract with Bastian Schweinsteiger and have signed defensive midfielder Dax McCarty to a two-year contract extension… LA Galaxy have added to their goalkeeper ranks by signing Brian Sylvestre. The 25-year-old joins from North Carolina FC, where he’s played most of the past three seasons… Seattle Sounders have signed University of Washington midfielder Handwalla Bwana to a Homegrown Player deal… Columbus Crew SC have re-signed defender Gaston Sauro and goalkeeper Logan Ketterer… New England Revolution have used allocation money to sign 24-year-old French defensive midfielder Wilfried Zahibo.