Hector Villalba - Atlanta United - July 22, 2016 (MEDIA)

ATLANTA – Atlanta United have high hopes for their newest signing, Hector "Tito" Villalba, who was officially unveiled on Friday and is hoping to replicate the success he had back home in Argentina, where he emerged as one of the most promising young players in the domestic league.


“I’m happy to be here,” Villalba said in his opening statement. “This club has a lot of faith in me and I hope I can respond in the same manner.”


Atlanta’s technical director, Carlos Bocanegra, praised Villalba’s work rate, highlighting his capacity to be a high-fitness player for a full 90 minutes.


“This is the type of player we’re looking to bring into Atlanta United," Bocanegra said. "We think he has a big future, he has a big ceiling. Most importantly, we think his style of play, his athleticism, translates very well into this league, like some of the other Argentineans who have come up here and done very well.”


Villalba is seen as a versatile player and an important part of the puzzle Atlanta United is piecing together. According to Bocanegra, Villalba is capable of playing as a second forward, up top as a striker or even out wide in either a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2.


“We think whether he’s playing on the wing and getting behind guys, crossing balls for Kenwyne Jones, or running off Kenwyne as a second forward in behind, we think it’s a great complement,” Bocanegra said.


“I’m faced with a nice challenge now," Villalba said, "and I’m going to try to replicate what I was able to do in San Lorenzo – many titles and do what’s best for the club.”


Replicating his time with San Lorenzo would represent quite a feat in MLS. He’s already won three titles in Argentina – a Copa Libertadores, a SuperCopa title and the Argentine Primera División.


Even with a head coach still to be named, Bocanegra believes Villalba is a player any manager would love to play.


“The vision that we have and the style of play that we want to have and that we presented to Hector is something that he fits into," Bocanegra said. "Whatever coach comes in here, they’re going to want to play him.”


For Atlanta’s newest winger, the move meant leaving the only club he's ever known. Messages from San Lorenzo fans flooded his social media feeds, wishing him success and praising the way he left his boyhood club. He admitted it was hard to leave San Lorenzo.


“Yes, it’s hard. It’s an important path I’m going down. But, I’ve got to keep growing,” he said. “I was very happy that the fans recognized me for everything I’ve done for the club.”


The 21-year-old is rumored to go on loan to Mexican side Tijuana for the next six months with a plan to rejoin the team in December ahead of their first training camp. Bocanegra, who stopped short of naming any potential destinations, said he expects a deal to be finalized by the end of the weekend.