Aberdeen’s scouting reach is set to expand to the immense South American market thanks to the new partnership with Atlanta United.
The MLS side have an extensive scouting network in South America and are ready to share their knowledge of the hottest prospects on that continent with Aberdeen and Derek McInnes.
Atlanta have eight South American players in their first-team squad – five from Argentina as well as one each from Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela.
In January this year they sold Paraguay international Miguel Almiron to Newcastle United for £20 million.
It was a club record fee for the Magpies and smashed the MLS transfer record.
Atlanta president Darren Eales is ready to open up that huge talent pool to the Dons.
He said: “It is impossible to be able to scout the whole globe given the size of the clubs Atlanta United and Aberdeen.
“Together we can cover more territory.
“We are strong in South America in terms of players we have signed and had success with.
“There is the chance for Aberdeen to leverage those contacts and scouting knowledge we have there.
“While we are looking for Atlanta United there is no harm in having an idea of what Aberdeen are looking for.”
Aberdeen and Atlanta will be operating in two completely different markets, however.
The US outfit sourced highly-rated winger Ezequiel Barco from Argentina side Club Atlético Independiente in 2017.
Atlanta paid a reported fee of $15m for Barco. In his two seasons at Atlanta he has broken into the Argentina Under-20 squad.
Atlanta also signed midfielder Pity Martinez from River Plate after reportedly triggering a $17m release clause in his contract.
Martinez helped River beat Boca Juniors to win the Copa Libertadores, the South American version of the Champions League.
He scored the winning goal in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid.
Aberdeen’s finances clearly mean they will be drinking from a different talent pool in South America than Atlanta.
However, the MLS side’s scouting network can still source targets to potentially meet boss McInnes’ needs.
Eales said: “That is something where it is obviously going to be built around the profile Derek McInnes and the team are looking for.
“And if the right player becomes available at the right time at the right price then that is something that could help Aberdeen.
“That is not going to happen overnight. But there are opportunities.”
It will be a two-way relationship and already McInnes and his scouting team have been helping Atlanta United source a centre-back in the United Kingdom and Europe.
Eales said: “Aberdeen have boots on the ground in the UK which will be helpful to us as we look to bring players in from this area and Europe.”
Set to join the Aberdeen board, Eales is a former executive director at Tottenham Hotspur.
While at Spurs he played a key role in the 2013 world record transfer fee sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.
Since being appointed Atlanta United president in September 2014 he has twice been named the MLS Executive of the Year.
So why choose Aberdeen?
He said: “We have been looking for a club where we could find that relationship because it is the global game now. It is the nature of football that you can find benefits and synergies from having those partner clubs.
“In Aberdeen we couldn’t be more happier as we feel we have found a great fit culturally with what Aberdeen is about.
“Aberdeen do great work in the community which is important to us and our owner Arthur Blank and in terms of his core values.
“There are similarities between the clubs in terms of that competitiveness and innovation.
“Aberdeen have done a great job in qualifying for Europe in six consecutive seasons.
“There are Celtic and Rangers with their big turnover and payroll. Trying to find innovative ways to be competitive, Aberdeen have done a great job in that.
“At Atlanta United we are in a salary cap league in the States but we have found different ways to be innovative within that structure.
“We feel there are some great benefits for both clubs and are very excited about the strategic partnership.”