Brenden Aaronson’s move to the Premier League is official.
Though the transfer fee to acquire him from Red Bull Salzburg wasn’t disclosed by the club, it’s been reported at $30 million. This means the Union will get an additional $5 million from the sell-on fee negotiated as part of his transfer to Salzburg to bring the total windfall from his sale to $14 million, according to Tom Bogert of MLSSoccer.com.
The sale is not just a big deal for the Philadelphia Union; it’s now among the highest ever outbound transfers from MLS, checking in at No. 7.
The USMNT regular will rejoin former Salzburg head coach Jesse Marsch at Leeds after they staved off relegation on the final day of the 2021-2022 Premier League season. The deal was contingent on Leeds staying in the Premier League for next season.
Aaronson said in an interview with Sky Sports that he watched the Leeds game on Sunday with his girlfriend in Vienna.
“We were sitting in the cafe and... I was pacing around, I was sweating; it was tough to watch but they got the win,” Aaronson said.
Aaronson has been on Leeds United’s radar for some time now and was a target during the winter transfer window.
“I think that this club can go really far; it’s historic, the fans are fantastic and I think that if they keep doing what they’re doing we’re going to reach the top of the game,” Aaronson said.
Unsurprisingly, Union head coach Jim Curtin was asked about his former star midfielder during his weekly press conference on Thursday afternoon.
“I couldn’t be happier for the Aaronson family,” Curtin said. “I think it’s a perfect move for Brenden, perfect style of play, perfect team, perfect club, perfect coach to join so it’s a really special day. (It’s) a monumental day, not just for the Aaronson family but for the Union, for our academy for the work that goes on there and obviously the dollars behind it too are impressive.”
Aaronson’s rise from his youth days at Real Jersey FC in Medford to his time in the Philadelphia Union Academy and at Bethlethem Steel FC before making his MLS debut in 2019 continues to be a source of pride for fans of the team and a major selling point for the academy. Though Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen was part of the academy setup in his youth days as an FC Delco player and Chelsea FC midfielder Christian Pulisic trained in the academy while playing club ball for PA Classics, Aaronson is the first to travel the team’s fully realized development pipeline and make good on the long-promised model of developing players for the first team and selling them on for profit.
“Look at the journey he’s been on,” Curtin said. “He’ll go play now in one of the best leagues in the world, will play for our national team and (is) kind of the poster child for what we can do here at the Philadelphia Union Academy.”