Miguel Almirón signed for Atlanta United at the end of 2016 from Argentine club Lanús ahead of their inaugural season in Major League Soccer.
I had never heard of the Paraguayan before his arrival in Major League Soccer – And that goes for most of the South American youngsters that arrive in the United States. It’s cool because there’s a pleasant surprise when these gems are unearthed from a market that seems to be neglected by clubs here in Europe.
Atlanta began the 2017 campaign with a bang, establishing themselves as one of the most exciting sides to watch, pretty much instantaneously. It’s no surprise that their lineups featured young South Americans with a point to prove.
Josef Martinez, Miguel Almirón, Tito Villalba and Yamil Asad – Key players last year with one thing in common….
There is a real opportunity for MLS clubs to utilise this scouting option in order to develop future stars and then sell them to Europe for substantial fees. Major League Soccer can be the go-between for these players with a long-term European dream. It’s a win-win situation.
Paul Tenorio wrote an article for The Athletic (Read it here) about how becoming a selling league would be a good thing for MLS and it’s growth, and he is absolutely on the money. The league has been known as a retirement home, and now there’s a clear opportunity for Major League Soccer to create a relationship with Europe and become the place to develop young talent, and it doesn’t have to be just South America.
Of course, Almirón isn’t the only young South American player in MLS with bags of potential, there are simply too many to name. Ezequiel Barco is the most expensive player in MLS history, a 19-year-old Argentinian. LAFC have hit the ground running in their inaugural season, featuring a 20-year-old Uruguayan, Diego Rossi upfront.
These are players that can be developed and matured in Major League Soccer before being sold to Europe for a profit, and we can sit back and watch like proud parents as they try their luck at the highest level.
Miguel Almirón’s arrival in Europe is inevitable. The European leagues are due to start in a month or so, therefore the move wouldn’t make sense right now. It would be the ideal scenario for him if he was to complete this season and help Atlanta United win MLS Cup before crossing the Atlantic in the winter and leaving Atlanta a legend.
We just have to make sure of one thing. And that’s when these players are eventually sold on, the clubs should receive a genuine fair share of the profit. After all, they were the force behind their development.
Written by Luke Beaumont – (@_LukeBeaumont)