Transfer Tracker

Atlanta United loan midfielder Franco Ibarra to Toronto FC

Franco Ibarra TOR


  • TOR receive: Franco Ibarra
  • ATL receive: $50k GAM

Toronto FC have acquired defensive midfielder Franco Ibarra on loan from Atlanta United for the remainder of the 2023 MLS season, the Eastern Conference clubs announced Monday. As part of the deal, Atlanta receive $50,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money.

Ibarra temporarily leaves Atlanta so they can become roster compliant, as teams can only roster three U22 Initiative signings. With midfielder Santiago Sosa and attackers Edwin Mosquera and Erik López taking up those designations in Atlanta, that left the 22-year-old Argentine as the odd man out. Mosquera recently returned from a loan to Argentine side Defensa y Justicia, creating the logjam.

Atlanta impact

Ibarra, who originally joined Atlanta in 2021 from Argentinos Juniors, had grown into a consistent starter for head coach Gonzalo Pineda’s team. He boasts one assist in 53 regular-season games (35 starts).

As Ibarra departs Atlanta, the club’s expected to lean on Sosa, veteran Osvaldo Alonso and newcomer Tristan Muyumba to play the majority of their No. 6 minutes. Alonso is just returning from a lengthy absence after suffering a torn ACL, while Muyumba is a Secondary Transfer Window signing from Ligue 2 side EA Guingamp.

Toronto fit

In Toronto, Ibarra joins a midfield group that includes veterans Mark-Anthony Kaye, Jonathan Osorio, Brandon Servania and Michael Bradley, as well as MLS NEXT Pro signing Alonso Coello. Bradley, their main No. 6, has been out long-term with a hamstring injury.

"Franco is a bright talent who will provide us with both quality and steel in our midfield," Toronto FC general manager Jason Hernandez said in a release. "He is a warrior, a top young professional, and we are excited to have the opportunity to work with Franco for the remainder of the 2023 season."

Big picture

These clubs have experienced divergent seasons in 2023, with Toronto second-from-bottom in the East and on pace to miss the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for a third straight year. They also parted ways with head coach and sporting director Bob Bradley in late June. Meanwhile, Atlanta are challenging for a home playoff game.

This move occurs with the MLS Secondary Transfer newly underway, sweeping in roster movement this summer (July 5 to Aug. 2 stretch).