Since everyone enjoyed or was up in arms over my article about English players who had the same salary as MLS players it seemed proper to write a piece about lesser-known players from South America and Mexico. The players on my other list were really a pie in the sky dream players who this past year, based on salary alone were being paid less than some MLS players. Again, only on some of these do I take into mind transfer fees. This list contains players that are mostly free transfers. I spent a few hours studying the best players from each country in Central and South America. Some of these players we have seen before as some play for Club America, the team we defeated to win the Campeones Cup. Many of them are not battle-tested to the highest degree, but the raw talent is certainly present.
This group is 100% more likely to come to the MLS than EPL players. It is apparent to any football fan that there are few players that would come to the MLS unless they knew their career in the EPL was coming to an end as we have seen with the cases of many players. Do not forget Toronto pays twice what Atlanta does to field a squad. LAFC spent 7 Million on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Atlanta has one of the best, if not the best front office in the MLS. It is certainly plausible that United could spend more money on a big-name player, especially given the fact that we just traded Darlington Nagbe to Columbus for a record fee. This is the 2nd time Nagbe has been a part of such a trade. Losing him leaves Atlanta with a gaping hole in the mid-field due to his high intensity, hunger, and general ability to gain back and keep possession. He was unquestionably one of the best players in the MLS this past year. His hard work gained him many comparisons to N’golo Kante, and it’s truly not an unfair comparison.
These names are not ranked 1-10 as good, better, best. They are simply players who Atlanta can afford and could possibly help the team. They come from all across the globe as far as their clubs are concerned, but all hail from the Caribbean to Central and South America.
#1: Sebastián Córdova- The 22-year-old from Club America has shown promise in his career so far. Along with sporting two caps for the Mexican National Team, the midfielder has netting 5 goals for the club. He is known for his strength of keeping possession as well as being a strong passer. It is plausible that with more growth he could potentially be a good fit for the MLS. His price tag on salary alone is $1,325,940.
#2: Arturo González- Although returning from an injury to his meniscus this Monterrey product is a bit of a wild card on the list. At 25 he holds 2 caps with the Mexican National Team, and although his playing time has gone down to injury, if healthy he holds enough talent to be an above-average player in the MLS. When traded to Monterrey his transfer price tag was over 3.5 million Euros. Having scored 23 goals and 9 assists during his career, he seems to be an MLS type player. His salary, $1988910 USD.
#3: Carlos Lobos- Lobos has played more this season typically as a central midfielder. In his career, he has netted 7 goals and 4 assists in the top division. At 22 he seems to possess a raw talent that is seemingly trying to be honed. He is a strong force in the middle of the field and has a motor that shows his tenacity and fervor for the game. In order to gain his services would cost United $828,753.
#4: Giovani dos Santos: Although 30 years old now Dos Santos's career has been an impressive one, having been signed by the likes of Barcelona, Spurs, and Villarreal during his career. Dos Santos has played in the MLS before with the Galaxy. He has scored 69 goals in his career. Of which Twenty-five came while playing for the Galaxy. This tells us that he certainly has the ability to score goals in MLS. 95% of his playing time comes as a second striker, however, he can and has played nearly every position from mid to left and right-wing. His versatility could very well come in handy for the five stripes. His cost is $2,000,000 USD. There is no transfer fee listed.
#5: Ulises Rivas- Playing as a defensive midfielder for the Liga MX side Santos Laguna Rivas great at holding up the ball and passing. He possesses a fair amount of strength and speed, and at 23 has room to grow. He seems to be an excellent candidate for the MLS, and if properly coached could end up being a force in the league. Rivas's salary is $1,105,005USD, with no transfer fees listed.
#6: Rômulo- With only a 250,000 Euro transfer fee and a salary of only $883,960 the Brazilian born player who plays for Busan IPark in the 2nd Tier of Korean Football. He has shown promise at the club netting 13 goals so far this season. Although he is not in the top flight of the Korean League, it seems he would be a great candidate to spend time playing on ATL 2 and seeing his progression.
#7: Alfredo Saldivar- Although Brad Guzan has been a stellar keeper for The 5 Stripes, at some point the club will need to replace him. Although his back-up native son of Georgia Alex Kahn is skilled in his own right, it makes sense to look for another keeper as the 35-year-old Guzan’s prime is behind him. As he approaches 40 other options must be taken into account. The 29-year-old keeper would cost Atlanta $1,657,507, with no transfer fee appearing
#8: Carlos Cisneros: Cisneros is an LW for Chivas in Liga MX who can play on both sides, but prefers the left-hand side being placed there in 53 games. Truthfully he has played almost every position on the field except keeper. Although not the most talented player in this list his raw talent brings a large upside to his worth. He has scored 12 goals in his career and 13 assists. He has a great crossing and ball skills. He is a bit of a jack of all trades. The amount he is being paid right now at Chivas is $1,657,425 USD.
#9: Jádson- This Brazillian born 26-year-old was sent to Cruzeiro on a free transfer at the beginning of 2019 during the January transfer window. He is a central midfielder with a good ability to stick with the ball. He also is a good defender and spends most of his time on the pitch controlling the mid-field. He is more of a wild card; however United could acquire him for $ 1,933,662 on a free transfer.
#10 Richard Sánchez- This 23-year-old Paraguayan plays for the Mexican Club America. He is a central midfielder who is rough around the edges but seems as if he could be shaped into a great player. With the right environment around him, he could be a steady player in MLS. Depending on his growth of skills over time, and considering his potential, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in an MLS uniform in the next 3 years. Sanchez does have a hefty 6.5 million dollar Euro transfer fee, which is on the steep side. Especially when factored in that his annual salary is $2,209,900 USD. He is more of a player to watch his development over the next year or so to see if he is really worth that kind of money.
It is not an easy task to find rare talent, especially in World Football simply because there are so many footballers in this world. In every country but the United States, every youngster grows up dreaming to play professional football. It is by far the hardest sport to attain true “pro” status. Having said that, many of these players could bring value to The Five Stripes, which is the overall goal especially after losing Nagbe. Atlanta will have to dig really deep to find another player even close to his level.