Ezequiel Barco.

Is $15 million a lot for Atlanta United to pay for Barco?

While $15 million – the record amount Atlanta United reportedly will pay for Argentinian midfielder Ezequiel Barco – may cause a bit of sticker shock in MLS, in world soccer it’s not that much money to pay for potential.

During the currently open winter transfer window, a few players have been transferred in exchange for totals higher than $15 million.

However, Barco’s transfer could still rank among the top 10 in the world during this recently opened winter window, according to transfermarkt.com.

The leader is the $147 million Liverpool received from Barcelona in exchange for Philipe Coutinho. Barco’s fee would come in at No. 10, between the $15.1 million Huddersfield paid for attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard and the $14.4 million Barcelona paid for defender Yerry Mina.

To put how little the $15 million is in terms of the finances of teams in world soccer, a look at the summer transfer expenditures shows Barco’s transfer total would come in at No. 113 between the $15-plus million Juventus paid for 27-year-old goalkeeper Wojchiech Szczensy and the $14.7 million various teams paid for various players, including what Borussia Dortmund paid for 28-year-old centerback Omar Toprak and for 22-year-old midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud.

Perhaps a more important question is could Atlanta United, should it decide to do so in a few years, sell Barco at a profit?

Some have calculated that would require the Five Stripes to sell Barco for between $25-30 million. That transfer fee includes the percentages that would go to MLS, Barco’s former club Independiente, and the expenses Atlanta United has paid to acquire Barco. The league doesn’t share the percentages it receives. They vary by player.

Thirty-nine players were sold for at least $30 million during last year’s summer transfer window. None of those players moved from a club in South America. 

Forty-nine players were sold for at least $25 million. Only one of those players, Lucas Alario, moved from a club in South America. He was sold for $29.3 million from River Plate in Argentina’s first division to Bayern Leverkusen in Germany.

To compare, Atlanta United’s purchase of Miguel Almiron for $9.3 million last year is the MLS record, according to transfermarkt.com.

Potentially selling Barco for that much would also smash thre record for revenue received for selling an MLS player. The $8.1 million Villarreal paid for Jozy Altidore is the top transfer fee for the league.