March 8, 2020 Atlanta: Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco (right) celebrates his goal with Pity Martinez, who had the assist, for a 1-0 lead over FC Cincinnati in a MLS soccer match on Saturday, March 8, 2020, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: Curtis Compton/Curtis Compton
Photo: Curtis Compton/Curtis Compton

Will Barco, Pity Martinez still be with Atlanta United after the summer?

During normal times, Atlanta United has two players — Pity Martinez and Ezequiel Barco — who would be  targets of clubs in Europe and Mexico.

But, because of COVID-19, these aren’t normal times.

Atlanta United president Darren Eales said that given what’s happening in sports, he predicts that the windows will be affected. Most leagues around the world, including MLS, have shut down with no-restarts on the horizon.

Speaking Monday, Eales didn’t seem too worried about the future of either player.

“For us, we have our players under long-term contracts,” he said. “We have a model that we look to sign players that have value, but don’t always intend to sell those players. We’ve seen that with Josef Martinez. 

“We can be flexible, we can be nimble. We are in a growing league. We will just have to see how things shake out with transfer window down the line and react accordingly.”

Barco, 21, has 10 goals and seven assists in 43 appearances with the club. His playing time has been affected by numerous injuries. Healthy this season, the midfielder has scored two goals in just two games.  Barco was purchased by Atlanta United in 2018 from Independiente for a reported fee of $13.5 million.

Martinez, 26, scored five goals with nine assists in 34 appearances last season, his first with the club. He was purchased from Argentina’s River Plate for an MLS record transfer fee of $15.95 million. Martinez has two assists this season.

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