Atlanta United again shoots down Martino, Almiron rumors

Atlanta United Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra treated rumors like he did strikers during his playing days at Monday's end-of-the-season review at the MLS clubs training grounds in Marietta.

He said the club hasn’t been contacted by anyone regarding manager Gerardo Martino, who is thought to be a target to coach the national teams of the U.S. or Chile. Martino led Atlanta United to the playoffs in its inaugural season, with the team scoring the second-most goals (70) and having the second-largest goal difference (plus-30). Martino has also denied the reports and rumors.

Bocanegra said he wouldn’t respond to reports that the club has agreed to terms with Argentinian defender Franco Escobar.

Miguel Almiron, who was named the MLS Newcomer of the Year on Monday, laughed off reports of interest from Arsenal, Newcastle, Inter Milan and A.C. Milan.

“Those are all just rumors,” he said. “I’m thinking about Atlanta. I’m thinking about going home to spend vacation with my family and then thinking about the preseason.”

Almiron said had Atlanta United won the MLS Cup -- it was defeated by Columbus in the first round of the playoffs - it wouldn’t have changed his attitude about the rumors.

“Like I’ve said before, my goal is to make it Europe,” he said. “But at the present time I’m just thinking about Atlanta, focusing on improving and next year we will see what happens.”