Atlanta United signs Escobar

Franco Escobar (right) is joining Atlanta United after playing at Newell's Old Boys in Argentina.

Franco Escobar (right) is joining Atlanta United after playing at Newell's Old Boys in Argentina.

Atlanta United signed defender Franco Escobar. The team announced the Discovery signing Thursday.

Escobar, 22, joins the Five Stripes from Newell’s Old Boys, where Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino formerly played and managed. Escobar made 19 appearances for Newell’s since 2016 and 34 in Argentina’s Primera Division.

Contract terms weren’t disclosed.

Escobar, 5-foot-11 and right-footed, can play centerback or right fullback.

“Franco is a physical and versatile defender, capable of playing anywhere along the back line,” Atlanta United Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said in statement released by the team. “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.”

Atlanta United has a hole at right fullback after the team declined contract options on Tyrone Mears and Mark Bloom. Neither Atlanta United nor Tottenham Hotspur have announced the status of loanee Anton Walkes, who started 17 games at right fullback.

Atlanta United is stocked at centerback with Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst and Miles Robinson. Some of that could change, depending upon who Atlanta United leaves exposed in the coming expansion draft and if LAFC selects one of those players Tuesday.

Escobar will join the roster in January along with goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt.

Escobar is another player in Atlanta United’s pipeline to South America. He will join Argentinians Gonzalez Pirez and Hector Villalba, Chilean Carlos Carmona, Paraguayan Miguel Almiron and Venezuelan Josef Martinez.

Atlanta United also reportedly is pursuing Argentinian playmaker Ezequiel Barco.