Though Pity Martinez said he is leaving River Plate in Argentina to join Atlanta United, club president Darren Eales was coy about that possibility on Monday.
“I saw that, people keep talking about this Pity Martinez, and he mentioned it himself,” Eales said after the victory parade celebrating the team’s MLS championship. “We’ve certainly got some irons in the fire and we are always looking to improve the squad.
“When there’s something official we will announce it.”
Eales said he thought that Martinez played well for River Plate, which defeated Boca Juniors 3-1 on Sunday to win the Copa Libertadores tournament. Martinez, a 25-year-old midfielder, scored the third goal in the game’s final seconds.
After the game, Martinez was quoted on ESPN as saying about Atlanta United: "It's the club that has put its trust in me. European clubs did not put their trust in me at the time, and I thought long and hard about it with my family and my agent.
"The MLS is a league that has grown a lot, and I hope I can keep on making history at that club."
Atlanta United reportedly agreed to a transfer fee of $17 million for the player, which would surpass the record $15 million it paid for Ezequiel Barco before the 2018 season.
Atlanta United can’t confirm the signing for several reasons.
First, Martinez can’t join until the winter window opens in January.
Second, he can’t join until Atlanta United clears one of its three Designated Player slots. It seems likely that Miguel Almiron will be sold in January, which would open a slot. The team’s three are currently taken by Almiron, Barco and Josef Martinez.