Speaking to TNT Sports, Atlanta United winger Ezequiel Barco talked at length about his desire to move to Manchester City to play with his friend Sergio Agüero. Towards the end of the conversation, though, he nonchalantly dropped a little nugget that should interest Fiorentina fans quite a bit more: his agent has been in touch with the Viola brain trust, receiving a serious offer before the pandemic.
The pint-sized winger certainly has the quality to make the switch to Europe; since joining the Five Stripes in January 2018, he’s scored 11 goals and assisted 10 more. Just 21 years old, he looked like he was kicking into high gear in the young MLS season, scoring twice and assisting another in his first 2 games before coronavirus halted the league. He’d also dazzled in the U20 World Cup despite Argentina’s disappointing performance, which is probably how he ended up as the second-best U22 player in the league.
He’s got tremendous pace and skill on the ball, which anyone can see, and you can’t teach those attributes. His end product can be a bit wayward at times, though, but you can’t knock a guy that young for occasional profligacy. The real concern is his injury history; at a willowy 167 cm/5’5, it’s no surprise that he’s spent a lot of time on the trainer’s table.
According to our friends over at Dirty South Soccer, Atlanta have set a €22.3 price on him, which is step but not absurd. With a contract expiring in January 2022, they’re in no rush to sell and could look to fan interest in France and Portugal, where he’s also well-regarded. In Florence, though, he’d be a fantastic counter-balance to Federico Chiesa. The prospect of Barco, Fede, and Dušan Vlahović or Christian Kouamé up front in a tridente is tantalizing, especially with the like of Franck Ribery, Patrick Cutrone, and Riccardo Sottil also available.
It’s even more impossible than usual to predict what will happen during this transfer window, so we’re not getting too carried away in predicting Barco’s imminent arrival. Last time we expected a talented South American winger from MLS to arrive, we were pretty let down. If Daniele Pradè can work his magic—and with Fiorentina’s American dimension, there’s at least a slight edge there—Ezequiel Barco could wind up being a very sound investment.