Atlanta United signs top-tier young defender Franco Escobar out of Argentina

Photo via Atlanta United Twitter

Atlanta United strengthened its Argentinian ties with the signing of one of the top young defenders in the Primera Division, adding 22-year-old Franco Escobar to the roster as a discovery signing.

Last season, Escobar made 34 appearances at center and right back for Newell’s Old Boys, a source of top talent for decades.

“Franco is a physical and versatile defender, capable of playing anywhere along the back line,” Atlanta United vice president and 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.”

Escobar will officially join the club “pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa,” per the team’s announcement.

With former Newell’s manager and fellow Rosario, Argentina product Tata Martino now managing in Atlanta — with countrymen Yamil Asad, Hector Villalba and Leandro González Pirez playing prominent roles for the Five Stripes — Escobar is the latest addition in a productive pipeline. Additionally, the Argentine Primera Division helped groom the likes of Miguel Almirón and Tito Villalba.

After making his professional debut in June 2015, the 5-foot-11 defender became a mainstay on Newell’s back line. He joins an attack-driven club looking to shore up its defensive shortcomings from its inaugural campaign.