The Philadelphia Union are set to benefit once again from their sale of Brenden Aaronson.
The USMNT star left Subaru Park for RB Salzburg at the end of 2020 MLS season for a reported $6m fee, plus up to $3m more in performance-based bonuses. At the time, it was the highest fee ever paid for a homegrown MLS player.
Aaronson has impressed in Europe already, scoring 13 goals and assisting 15 in 65 games for Salzburg and helping the club win domestic honors as well as reaching the Uefa Champions League knockout rounds.
Leeds United have long been linked with a move for Aaronson and after their Premier League status was secured on the final day of the season, the transfer has now been confirmed. Aaronson will reunite with former Salzburg boss and fellow American Jesse Marsch at Elland Road after notching seven goals and five assists in 25 games under his management.
Leeds did not disclose the fee in their announcement, but 90min understands the Whites will pay Salzburg around $32m for Aaronson – an 18-time US international – once the transfer is completed when the window opens in July.
The Union retain a sell-on fee for Aaronson understood to be 15%, meaning they can expect an extra windfall in the region of $5m. That’s a healthy sum for an MLS club, with Philadelphia’s record incoming transfer to date the $2.8m signing of Danish striker Mikael Uhre from Brondby last winter.
“It’s great. Couldn’t be more happy for the Aaronson family, for Brenden, and for Jesse Marsch,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “Credit to Red Bull Salzburg for helping him in his path. Perfect coach to work with, perfect team to join. Monumental day for our academy too.
“The dream scenario for Brenden if you rewind 18 months back and now the next move for him down the road could be even greater. He is the poster child of what we can do here in our academy.”