Update: Ezequiel Barco situation

Update:  Ezequiel Barco situation

The update is now that Atlanta United is offering a $15 million dollar transfer for 70% of his rights.  If they sell him on then, Atlanta United would receive 70% of the proceeds while Independiente would receive 30%.  No bonuses for performances like in the previous offer.  According to report Independiente are more open to this deal.  Click on this link for more details:  https://www.ole.com.ar/independiente/barco_0_1937806293.html.

These type of deals occur in South America.  For example, with Neymar when he was with Santos in Brazil.  Santos did not own 100% of his rights.  There was an investment group named DIS Esporte that had 40% of Neymar’s rights.  When Neymar was sold to Barcelona, DIS Esporte was expecting the 40% of the transfer fee.  They felt they did not receive it and were underpaid and things got complicated.

If Atlanta United get Barco and sell him in the future, it will most likely not be as messy as the Neymar situation.  We will see what occurs, but it looks like Independiente are willing to come to terms with in the week.

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Will Alfredo Ortuño troubles at Real Valladolid follow him to Real Salt Lake?

Will Alfredo Ortuño troubles at Real Valladolid follow him to Real Salt Lake?

On January 3rd, 0218, it was made official that Real Salt Lake (RSL) signed the Spanish forward Alfredo Ortuño.  Is this a good signing for RSL?

He came up in the youth system for Albacete in Spain.  He made his professional debut on December 20, 2008.  In 2011 he moved to the second division side of Getafe B, then to Levante B and then to La Hoya Lorca.  In his last season at La Hoya Lorca he scroed 8 goals in 18 matches.  This was good enough for him to obtain a move to, at the time La Liga side Granada CF.  He only featured in 5 matches before he was loaned out to Girona and then Las Palmas.  Once with Las Palmas he was loaned to Zaragoza, Mallorca, and Càdiz. At Càdiz he scored 17 goals in 42 appearances.  On September 2, 2017 he ended his contract with Las Palmas and sign with Real Valladolid.

The issue with Real Valladolid is that he never played a match with that club.  A story surfaced from writer Arturo Posada that there were issues between the player and the club.  He did not show up for training.  Valladolid stated that he did not receive permission to miss training.  They also feel burned because Ortuño’s representatives from Bahia Internacional pressured Valladolid to sign him at the end of the transfer window.  Remember this is all from Valladolid’s perspective.  Either way, Ortuño never played a match for Valladolid.  For more details click on this link    http://realvalladolid.elnortedecastilla.es/real-valladolid-estudia-20170907225419-nt.html  As of November 24, 2017, Real Valladolid rescinded their contract so now he is a free agent.  For the last few months he was training with Las Palmas which was his old club.

Will he be trouble for RSL?  How consistent of a striker is he?  He has definitely had an up and down career.  He is a central forward number 9 type of player that is a poacher.  He seems to be in the right place at the right time but also makes good runs to open up the defensive line.  This will be competition for Yura Movsisyan who was rumored to be moving this off season but it has not happened.  RSL with Mike Petke at helm has ran a 4-2-3-1 formation for most matches.  Ortuño’s will fit in that lone forward position.  Now if he is a good fit personality wise, only time will tell but he has stated that he is excited for this move.

Is Ezequiel Barco coming to Atlanta United?

Is Ezequiel Barco coming to Atlanta United?

The headline says it all, is Ezequiel Barco coming to Atlanta United or not?  This rumor has been making its way around since November of 2017.  On November 28, 2017, the Argentinean reporter Cesar Luis Merlo tweeted out that Atlanta United is going to offer a $14 million transfer fee to Barco’s current club Independiente, and they would accept it.  Atlanta United offer $14 million for Barco

By mid-December, Barco was asking Independiente to accept Atlanta United’s offer which they had not done as of yet.  Previously, the Vice President of Independiente stated that Barco is not going to leave the club for anything less than $20 million. Ezequiel Barco asking Independiente accept Atlanta United Offer  With that being said, Atlanta United needed to close the gap.  Now as reported by Dirty South Soccer, Atlanta United has increased their offer even more, “$14 million in guaranteed money, plus $3 million in bonuses for objectives + 30% of future sale if it’s before the end of 2019. Bonuses would include $12 million at the time of the sale, $1 million in a year’s time, $500,000 if he appears in six games in 2019, $1 million more if he plays six in 2020 and $500,000 each if he scores a goal in MLS and Atlanta wins MLS Cup.”  For more details on this, click on this link  Independiente reject another Atlanta United offer .  Now it seems that Barco might be forcing the move.  As reported on Independiente’s twitter account on January 4th, he did not show up to training.   Barco does not show up to training  Time will only tell if this tactic worked but also reported yesterday from Guido Valeri, Independiente has decided to accept Atlanta United’s offer.

The question is, why is he such a great commodity?  Barco is an 18 year old attacking midfielder.  He made his professional debut with Independiente on August 28th, 2016.  He patterns his game from another Argentinean Sergio Kun Aguero.  He is left footed that has a good eye for the final ball.  He can play in the central midfield pulling the strings, or as a left sided winger.  He can also play as a second striker.  His stamina will need to improve if he moves to Atlanta United as every time they get the ball they like to break and over the length of the season that might wear on him.  With that being said, since they do like to break, his speed especially dribbling with ball will be an asset and should work well with the likes, Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron, and Darlington Nagbe.

This is fast changing story….by the time you are finish reading this a new update may have come out.

Ashley Cole resigns with LA Galaxy

Ashley Cole resigns with LA Galaxy

As the LA Galaxy retool their roster for the 2018 season, a familiar face will be back with the squad.  That familiar face is Ashley Cole who signed a new one year contract.  The 37 year old has lasted longer in Major League Soccer (MLS) than most thought.

Let’s remember before he signed with the LA Galaxy, he was released by Chelsea in the summer of 2014.  Instead of signing with a team in MLS, he signed for AS Roma in Italy’s Serie A.  When a reporter asked him if other teams were interested, he stated, “I had offers from the USA, but I’m not ready to relax on a beach yet.  I’ve won a lot in my career already, but I don’t want to stop.”  Click on the link to read the full article http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/07/ashley-cole-mls-beach .

After 18 months with the Serie A side, he terminated his contract and decided to sign with the LA Galaxy.  In the last two seasons he has featured in 55 matches and he has drawn praised for his consistent play.  Sigi Schmid, coach of the LA Galaxy is happy to bring him back as he is doing an overhaul of the team but bringing Cole back for another year should add some continuity during this time of change.  In addition to Cole, rumor is that Schmid is looking to bring back Perry Kitchen from Danish side Randers FC which should bolster the defense.

It seems that the Galaxy are moving away from the youth movement of the previous year.  Last year the Galaxy finished in last place of the Western Conference which is the cause of all the roster change.  If the Galaxy are moving away from promoting homegrowns and/or promoting from their USL side, should those players look elsewhere for possible moves to a senor team? Or can the Galaxy find a balance of veterans and local youth?

NYCFC signs Jesus Medina as their new DP

NYCFC signs Jesus Medina as their new DP

Jesus Medina is now a New York City Football Club (NYCFC) player.  The question is, who is Jesus Medina and how will he fit in to the NYCFC squad?

Jesus Medina is a 20 year old Attacking Left Winger from Paraguay.  If he is only 20 years old, then why did NYCFC use one of their three Designated Player (DP) spots for him?  Even though he is only 20 years old, he has been a professional since he was 15 years old.  He made his debut with the Paraguayan team Club Libertad in 2012.  In addition to his senior club appearances, he also featured with the Paraguayan U17, U20, and most recently with the senior team on July 1st, 2017.

He has mainly been deployed on the left attacking wing but also can play on the right.  He likes to dribble at defenders and get them on their heels.  Playing in Yankee Stadium might actually neutralize his speed and dribbling ability since it is such a small field, but his passing skills will assist in that manner.  In addition, with Patrick Vieira coaching him, his passing and tactical acumen should improve.  In this article NYCFC lands Jesus Medina, Vieira is quoted as saying this about Medina, “We believe that he’s a special talent.  Jesus has got talent, he’s got pace, he’s a really good dribbler, and he’s somebody who can assist and score goals as well. For a player of such a young age, he has a really strong character and I think he will be a great addition.”

With this signing, he replaces their previous third DP, Andrea Pirlo.  Also with this signing, this adds to the other two DPs of Maxi Moralez and David Villa.  During last season, Vieira mostly deployed a 4-3-3 formation but sometimes would switch to a 4-4-2.  Depending on how long it takes for Medina to get his Major League Soccer (MLS) footing, he will most likely be starting on the left wing of a 4-3-3 with Villa in the middle and Jack Harrison on the right wing.  Will this move assist in NYCFC challenging Toronto FC for Eastern Conference supremacy, we shall see.

Agent Marcelo Simonian blocking Kaku deal to New York Red Bulls?

Agent Marcelo Simonian blocking Kaku deal to New York Red Bulls?

Who is Alejandro Romero Gamarra (‘Kaku’) and would he be a good pick up for the New York Red Bulls (NYRB) from Major League Soccer (MLS)?  He is a 22 year old player from Argentina that currently plays for Club Atlètico Huracán.  The main position he plays is the left attacking wing but he can also play in the attacking midfield or the right wing.  This displays that he is a versatile player which the New York Red Bulls will need through their multiple competitions for the 2018 season.  They will be involved in the regular MLS Season, CONCACAF Champions League, and the US Open Cup.  Their first match will be on February 22, 2018 at Olimpia in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

NYRB is willing to pay a club transfer record of $6.25 to $7 million dollars depending on what reports you believe.  He would replace Gonzalo Veron who was picked up in the MLS Re-Entry draft by D.C. United.  The hope is that Gamarra will slide in to the starting role that is a more consistent player than Veron was.  Even though NYRB is willing to pay this transfer fee and it was all but assumed this deal was done, there is news that came out today that there is a hitch in the deal.  From reading this tweet https://twitter.com/quemerosxmundo/status/946916100868071425  the president of Club Atlètico Huracán, Alejandro Nadur states that the former agent of Kaku, Marcelo Simonian feels he is due commissions from this deal.  Until this gets resolved, Kaku is not joining the Red Bulls.  Marcelo Simonian seems to be busy not only blocking this deal from going through but also dealing with the possible transfer of his client Javier Pastore who might move from Paris St. Germain to Inter.  We will see if Simonian decides not to block this deal and concentrate on his other clients but it does not look that way as of yet.

C.F. Pachuca gets Kekuta Manneh on a Free Transfer

C.F. Pachuca gets Kekuta Manneh on a Free Transfer

Pachuca’s new signing is Kekuta Manneh from the Columbus Crew in Major League Soccer (MLS).  Not only is this their new signing, they got him on a free transfer.  How did Pachuca get him on a free?

Let’s start at the beginning.  Kekuta Manneh is from the country of The Gambia.  He came to the United States in 2010 and was adopted by Eric and LaRhonda Niccum.  LaRhonda was the team manager for the youth team Houston Rush.  At this time Manneh was 15 years old.  He represented himself well with the Houston Rush, he scored 35 goals in 23 matches.  From the Houston Rush, Manneh moved to the Lonestar SC and scored 21 goals in 15 matches. As one can surmise, Manneh had a penchant for scoring goals.

In January of 2013, Manneh was selected fourth overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS SuperDraft.  While with the Whitecaps he showed progress developing as a player.  He utilized his speed and played mostly on the left wing as he likes to cut in.  Even though he played well in spurts he was inconsistent as he was still developing as a player.  In the 2016 season, he was out for approximately five months due to injury and missed 19 matches.  This injury one could say was the culprit of the trade to take place in 2017.

In March of 2017, Manneh was traded to the Columbus Crew for Tony Tchani and $225,000 in Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) and $75,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM).  Please note that TAM is to be used by the MLS team to help the team buy or retain a player that might have a salary between $480,625 and $1,000,000 with the amount over $480,625 to not count against the salary cap.  GAM is money to be used anywhere on the roster.  Even though the Crew traded for Manneh, his contract was up at the end of the 2017 season.  This could have been one of the reasons why the Whitecaps were willing to trade to him as they were not able to come to an agreement on a new contract.

While with the Crew, he mostly came off the bench and was used all over the field from Left Wing to Right Wing to Central Attacking Midfielder to a Center Forward.  He could not quite find his footing there.  The Columbus Crew has depth at the positions that Manneh would normally play at.  He is quoted as saying, “There’s some really, really good players here,” Manneh said of Columbus. “Competition for places is tough. It’s good football for development, but I don’t want to put myself in that situation. I’m 22 years old. I need to play week in, week out.  I can’t be in an environment where I’m left frustrated,” he continued. “I love this game way too much. Even if I have to go a step down to be able to get regular minutes, be happy week in, week out, this game makes me happy. It’s definitely something I will consider making my decision. I need to be in an environment where I need to play week in, week out like Vancouver.

I want to be playing. I don’t know. It’s tough. Having Justin having a great year, a really good player as well. Pedro being a DP, a really good player as well. It is tough, but you always want to keep all your options open.”  These quotes are from this article. Kekuta Manneh faces a big offseason-decision  Click on the link to read more of the story.

On December 26th, Manneh decided to sign with Liga MX side Pachuca instead of resigning with the Columbus Crew.  He did have a trail with German side Union Berlin earlier in the month but nothing materialized from it.  Why did Pachuca decide to sign him?  Pachuca has missed the playoffs the last two tournaments.  Liga MX has split seasons or tournaments called the Apertura and Clausura instead of one long season.

Pachuca most likely signed him for depth purposes and an option off of the bench that will be a change of pace.  Considering at the beginning of the season they were considered title contenders, especially coming off of the 2016 Clausura championship, this year was a disappointment.  For Manneh being a part of that depth could become a valuable commodity for Pachuca since one of the biggest reasons they did not make the playoffs in 2017 was due to numerous injuries.  This could mean quite a bit of playing time for Manneh.  In the end, moving to Pachuca might provide the playing time he was looking for.