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Orlando City Close to Acquisition of Brazilian Center Back Antônio Carlos

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The Lions are looking to add the 26-year-old defender on a one-year loan deal with an option to buy.

Palmeiras v Cerro Porteno - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018 Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

Orlando City SC is about to make the first move to strengthen the team’s back line ahead of the 2020 Major League Soccer season. The Mane Land’s sources have confirmed reports out of Brazil that the Lions are nearing a deal with Brazilian center back Antônio Carlos from Palmeiras. The agreement was first reported by Brazilian website Globoesporte.com but at this time there is no signed contract and obviously anything can still happen.

Once the final details are hashed out, the 26-year-old Carlos will join the Lions on a one-year loan contract from Palmeiras — his rights are shared by the Brazilian giants and another Brazilian club, Tombense. Orlando will have the option to make the move permanent at the end of the loan period.

Regarded as a quick defender and a specialist in the air, Carlos is capable of pairing with Robin Jansson in Orlando’s starting central defense next season. He’ll have another Brazilian, right back Ruan, on the team’s back line with him.

Developed in the academies of Palmeiras’ main rival, Corinthians, Carlos has played with seven different Brazilian teams over the course of his career. He also featured for Avaí, Oeste, Flamengo, and Ponte Preta.

The 6-foot-3 center back had his best moments with Palmeiras in 2018, when he started in 26 of the Verdão’s 38 matches to help the club win the Brazilian championship. In that same season, he was selected for the São Paulo State Championship’s Best XI.

This season, however, the defender lost ground in the team’s rotation and played in only nine Brazilian Championship matches and three Copa Libertadores games. As the club spent significant amounts of money on center backs recently, Carlos’ situation was unlikely to change and the move to MLS became more attractive to the center back.

What It Means for Orlando

With the departure of Lamine Sané, Orlando City’s best center back in 2019, the Lions had to find a replacement to start alongside Jansson. Carlos could be that guy, and will likely be expected to claim the spot, given the fact that the Rio de Janeiro native will require an international slot. Transfermarkt estimated his value at 1.6 million Euros as of Nov. 27, but there’s no way Orlando is paying that much for him after letting go of Sané, who made just shy of $950,000 last year. He will not be a Designated Player, but he could be a Targeted Allocation Money guy.

At 26, Carlos could be in Orlando for years if he adapts to the league and the culture. Being with Orlando City should make things easier, as the club has quite a few Brazilians in the organization and a Portuguese-speaking captain in Nani. Regardless, Orlando needed at least two center backs this off-season and Carlos, a quick, athletic defender who can get forward like Sané occasionally did, seems to fit the bill.

Here’s a look at what he can do: