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Atlanta United signs Argentine defender Escobar

River Plate v Newell's Old Boys - Superliga 2017/18

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 26: Rafael Santos Borre of River Plate fights for the ball with Franco Escobar of Newell’s Old Boys during a match between River and Newell’s Old Boys as part of Superliga 2017/18 at Monumental Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images)

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Atlanta United’s Argentine contingent continues to grow.

The club announced Friday morning it had signed promising centerback Franco Escobar on a transfer from Newell’s Old Boys. The 22-year-old has become a regular starter for Newell’s in the Argentine Primera in the last 12 months and has become such a mainstay that Atlanta United reportedly paid a $1 million transfer fee.

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Escobar’s connection to Atlanta United is surely though manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino, a fellow Argentine who formerly played and coached at Newell’s and still has contacts with the team.

“Franco is a physical and versatile defender, capable of playing anywhere along the back line,” Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “He’s a young player who has already featured often in the Argentina Primera Division and he brings a level of toughness that will suit MLS and benefit our club immediately.”

With Michael Parkhurst getting on in years and Bobby Boswell and Zach Loyd departed, Escobar fills a need along the backline for Atlanta United, and should there be an injury to Leandro Gonzalez Pires or Parkhurst, Escobar should be able to step in and perform at a high level.