UPDATE (Feb. 8, 11:30 am ET): River Plate have reportedly swooped in and are now the favorite to land Atlanta United center back target Hector David Martinez.
The difference appears to have been a phone call from River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo, who has seemingly made the 23-year-old left-footed defender an offer he couldn't refuse. Martinez initially played for River Plate II before a loan, and eventually a permanent transfer, to Defensa y Justicia.
Atlanta United are close to finalizing a deal for Argentine center back Hector David Martinez, according to a report.
Argentina-based reporter German Garcia Grova tweeted there’s been an agreement in principal between Atlanta United and Defensa y Justicia for the 23-year-old, who made a permanent move last August from River Plate II to Hernan Crespo’s side after spending 2019 on loan with Defensa.
It would reportedly be a four-year contract with a 3.5 million transfer fee, split evenly between Defensa and River.
Martinez has been a regular starter for Defensa, with 19 starts in 20 league appearances in a breakout 2019-20 that saw him also score twice. He’s also started all six Copa Libertadores matches he’s appeared in, most recently against Santos in October.
The left-footed center back made five appearances for the Argentine U-17 national team, competing in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
It’s been a busy offseason in the Atlanta rumor mill, with the club reportedly also chasing River Plate midfielder Santiago Sosa and close to loaning defender Franco Escobar to Newell’s Old Boys, according to another report.