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U.S. Men's National Team

Report: Brooks draws interest from EPL clubs

John Brooks

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

John Brooks’ successful first season in the Bundesliga has earned him a number of suiters from abroad, including in England.

The U.S. Men’s National Team centerback is being sought after by at least five clubs in the English Premier League, according to a Sky Sports News report. The report names Aston Villa, West Ham, Stoke City, Everton, and Newcastle as clubs interested in signing Brooks, whether it be this summer or beyond.

Brooks still has three seasons remaining on his contract with Hertha Berlin, the club he came up with and where he graduated from the youth academy. Last season, Brooks made just 16 Bundesliga appearances with 14 starts, battling injury, a lack of form, and personal issues with his manager before winning back his starting spot late in the season.

Though he earned his first USMNT cap last August after playing for both American and German youth national team sides, the 21-year-old was still a surprise selection for the 2014 USMNT World Cup squad. If he comes into a match at the World Cup, he’ll officially be cap-tied to the USA.

The report adds that while Brooks has interest from other clubs in the Bundesliga and in France, it’s thought that he would prefer to move to England if he left Hertha.

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What do you think of this report? Do you see Brooks moving to an EPL club? Think he could start for any of those five?

Share your thoughts below.

89 comments
  • Freez

    For the life of me I don’t get his inclusion in this wc squad. What I do get is he’s got the tools to be a solid pro , as in the future…but he’s not that now. 14 starts and inconsistent form over a club season translates to making the US team and transfer speculation?? When he has worn a US shirt his performance has been unconvincing. If he plays I hope he rises to the challenge otherwise the US is screwed.

    Like

    • Byrdman

      At 20 years of age , the steps of improvement come much more quickly than when you are 26. He obviously has made large strides in recent months.

      Like

      • Josh D

        Agreed. And Brooks really showed well during the friendlies whereas Gonzo showed his worst moments, again which led to a goal.

        There’s a large drop after our starters, Goodson included. I had Brooks on my list because of his experience in the Bundesliga and his potential. We have to do a better job prepping our boys for the World Cup, and inviting three or so future picks is how to do it.

        I think Brooks is as good as Gonzo, though less experience, and I anticipate him eventually displacing one of the starting CBs after the World Cup. His potential is that high.

        But there’s no point in leaving his club unless he isn’t going to see time next season due to fighting with the manager. Brooks just needs to mature and a stable environment is what will help.

        Like

      • Jesse D

        Brooks played in 1 friendly (Turkey). He had a bunch of solid clears, had some positional mistakes.
        1 above average half is far from convincing. That said, Gonzo is hurt and can’t run. Brooks looks better than him right now.

        Like

      • Patrick2

        In a few years the US will have Brooks, Boyd, Altidore, and maybe Gonzo moving up for set pieces (Evil Smile).

        Like

      • user222

        I will bet teenagers Tommy Redding and Eric Palmer-Brown will both make the US roster for WC 2018 as CBs.

        Like

      • Gordoninho

        Will Packwood will probably be somewhere along that back line.

        Like

    • S J

      So you think Clarence Goodson should have transfer speculation tied to Aston Villa, West Ham, Stoke City, Everton, or Newcastle?

      Like

      • DCUPedro

        If he was twelve years younger, he would.

        Transfers for players of this quality are about upside.

        Like

      • bryan

        huh? Goodson never got any offers to the “big leagues” when he was playing in Europe…

        Like

    • Tim H.

      Well, his play improved once he got back into the lineup. And he played really well against Turkey. I’d still take him over Gonzo at the moment.

      Furthermore, he’s a young centerback. Centerback’s don’t usually hit their stride until a little later into their careers. I understand your complaint about his inclusion during the current WC cycle. But he will be a cornerstone of our defense for years to come very soon.

      Like

      • Eurosnob

        Yes, Brooks is definitely better than Gonzo and also has a higher ceiling. And, if he was not a solid pro, he would not been getting playing time in Bundesliga and interest from the EPL clubs. If one of our starting CBs goes down or gets suspended, based on this years’ performance, I’d rather have Brooks step in than Omar.

        Like

      • Tim H.

        So many USMNT fans were upset over Landon’s exclusion. But I was more upset that Gonzo was included over Goodson. In fact, I would have taken Goodson, Parkhurst, Ream, or even Orozco over Gonzo. Not only has his form in a USMNT kit been subpar, but he’s injured. No reason he should be in Brazil.

        Like

      • Paul

        Orozco is/was hurt, Parkhurst cannot play CB at the international level against elite competition. Goodson — no. Tim Ream…yes. I really wish he was invited over Goodson to the 30. However, he sealed his fate when he had to pull out for his child’s birth.

        Like

      • Tim H.

        Every candidate you mentioned and their faults are still better options than Gonzo.

        Like

      • Fredo

        JK rates Omar a little bit ahead of Goodson, Parkhurst & Ream. USA!

        Like

    • bryan

      you honestly can’t comprehend how he is in the squad? the 4th CB. the guy likely to hardly see the field (or not at all like Goodson in 2010). him on this squad is just fine.

      Like

    • TomG

      “tools to be a solid pro” is underselling his tools. He has the tools to be an elite cb in an elite league. He has prototypical size and athleticism.

      Like

    • Cylo

      What is it you don’t get. Brooks is better then Gonzo. Your question should be is why is Gonzo on the team not Brooks. The guy is in the 2nd best league and starting

      Like

  • Brian

    I can’t believe he’s not actually cap-tied at this moment. I don’t worry about him switching, but it seems kinda funny to me we could actually have a player on our World Cup roster who could end up playing for another nation in the future.

    Like

    • DB

      Not to mention that the U.S. squares off against the other nation he could play for.

      Like

    • usaalltheway

      Wait a minute…so let’s say, for whatever reason, he doesn’t play for the USMNT in this Cup. That means he could potentially play for Germany in the future???

      That seems like a loophole that needs fixing.

      Like

      • iggy

        yes, he could switch because he would not have played in a competitive meaningful game, only friendlies.

        Like

      • DB

        Amazingly, he’s never played in a competitive match at any level for either country. A loophole, maybe, but it’s incredible that some made a WC squad with that background.

        (Though, is Januzaj in the same boat? Not sure what his youth experience was…)

        Like

      • WhiteHart

        Diego Costa was in the same situation until he started for Spain today… It happens.

        Though in fairness, Diego Costa would have probably been capped during WCQ if Brazil had them, which is another reason why the rule is kind of weird and quirky. I’m sure it’s unlikely to happen again (host team losing a player like that), but the Costa situation is just all kinds of weird.

        Like

  • P

    Provided he’s fit, he is the future at CB and will be starting in next qualifying cycle.

    Like

      • Paul

        Keep in mind Besler and Cameron will be 31 in 2018, so 1 of those will be starting.

        Like

      • Increase

        This is a wonderful issue to have. Suddenly 4 competent CBs. We might even be able to tailor who we play in a tactical response to the other team. Sexy.

        Like

      • Matthew R

        Of our 8 defenders in Brazil, 7 will be young enough to return for 2018 if they are in good form (everyone except Beasley, and not including Ream who will only be 30 in 2018). Including all the up and coming defenders we have in MLS and abroad (Packwood, Okugo, Klute, Farrell, Garza, O’Neill, Lichaj, etc.) I think we’re gonna be stacked in the back for 2018…

        Like

      • Nate Dollars

        take a look back at the sbi archives…we say this every world cup.

        there’s always a long list of players who either get injured, can’t get playing time, or just don’t develop the way we expect them to. i like to speculate too, but we might want to wait until at least 2016.

        Like

      • GW

        Anyone remember that Gale Agbossoumounde was supposed to be our starting CB on Monday?

        Then again he wasn’t even in the same zip code with a guy like Brooks.

        Like

      • Matthew R

        Thank you for calling me out on that, I should have clarified by also adding that with the 15 guys I mentioned who I think have the potential to develop into World Cup players, if half of them pan out to be as good as advertised we should be stacked in defense. Keep in mind there will also be 1 or 2 guys we haven’t heard of yet who might come onto the radar, so with that much possible/potential depth, I’m hopeful for our back line in 2018.

        Like

      • GW

        Four years is an entire career in soccer.

        Leading up to 2010 CB looked like a position of strength, Gooch, Demerit, Chad Marshall, Goodson, Danny Califf, Jimmy Conrad,Boca, and others were all in the mix yet ,by the time the WC rolled around, Bradley was starting a rehabbing Gooch and a Demerit who had recently recovered from a serious eye injury.

        So let’s just say I’ll wait until the end of 2017 before being confident or not about the state of the USMNT CB pool for the 2018 WC.

        Like

      • user222

        JK decided to take a 20 yo CB to Brazil, Tommy Redding and Eric Palmer-Brown will be around 21-22 in 2018. JK might take one or both to Russia.

        Like

  • 504soccerfan

    Please dear god don’t go to the EPL. He has a good thing going at Hertha. Where ever he goes in the EPL he will be buried on the bench.

    Like

    • Tim H.

      He’s likely to be buried on the bench if he stays at Hertha. He was already the third-choice CB there before an injury forced him back into the lineup. Now that Hertha has signed John Heitinga, he’s likely to receive less playing time.

      If the reports are true, Brooks could see a lot of time at a club like Aston Villa. Trust me, they need all the help they can get on the backline.

      Like

  • Ga1atic0

    I like Everton and what Martinez has done with the team. Martinez for US coach .. Yes I know it won’t happen but I think he’s a visionary.

    Like

    • Raymon

      Why wont it happen? He’ll still be active after the 18 Cup, when JK’s contract ends. Assuming JK lasts that long. I agree, RM could be next in line. He has a gift for maximizing the hand he is dealt.

      Like

      • GW

        Martinez is too young and has too bright a future. If this keeps up he could get a much bigger job than Everton in the next few years.

        In most of the rest of the soccer world national team managers are, in general, older retiree types, young unknowns looking to make a name and get a real job or club guys who have been fired and are looking for something to tide them over until a real job comes up.

        There is a fourth category the short term, big money fix it guy like Hiddink or Bora but there are not a lot of them.

        That is the real reason you rarely see teams keep the same manager for more than one cycle.

        Either they do poorly and get fired or do well and quickly move on to better things.

        Like

    • Josh D

      Not sure it’s that much of a fantasy. He has done work for ESPN for the last two World Cups and has watched the US play a lot. Those connections are forming. But he’s too good of a manager to head to international play. Like The Special One, being an international manager should be a retirement job.

      Like

    • Hilla

      Why would Martinez coach the USA? He is being bandied about as a future Barcelona manager or England manager. He is not going to manage the USA.

      Like

      • iggy

        He could run through one or both of those jobs and then come to the US by 2018

        Like

    • Hogatroge

      Brooks is a defender. He’ll be facing higher quality attacking opponents in the EPL.

      Like

  • Bac

    Remember 6 weeks ago when most of the predicted lineups here had Cameron at RB, how he’d played well all year in the PL, and how JK was stubborn and making a mistake by seeing him as a CB??
    Anyone kinda feeling a bit different about that now????

    Like

    • Increase

      Not at all. I get why he didn’t play there in qualifying too. Cameron would have needed time to adjust. A week is not enough to switchover to CB.

      Like

      • Bac

        Point taken.. but I’m sure u see my sarcasm..
        Look how quickly most of the fan’s narrative has changed..
        Brooks has gone from “why was he even on this roster”
        to possibly the 3rd CB choice behind Cam/Besler because Omar looks like he’s not 100% and JK just didn’t rate the slower, safer, less athletic, older Goodson

        Like

      • Bac

        And a healthy Orozco could have been in that conversation..but unfortunately he wasn’t

        Like

      • Brad

        I would really like to see Cameron go somewhere where he can get time playing CB, if he indeed has a good tournament playing there. Even if it’s just more looks for Stoke at that position.
        He reminds me of Demerit in the way that he throws his body into blocks.. maybe it’s the hockey mentality?

        Point being, I just really want to see us have a defender that has that super confident mentality/personality like a lot of the top defenders in other sports in this country. Anyone who believes that they can boss a game would be a good personality to have on the team — it would further instill some American swagger.

        Like

      • GW

        “I just really want to see us have a defender that has that super confident mentality/personality like a lot of the top defenders in other sports in this country.”

        That guy just retired. But most of you never appreciated him because you never understood how good he really was.

        You think being a great defender is all about physicality and getting sweaty.

        It’s not. This is soccer not hockey.

        Like

  • Chris

    If we have a lead against Ghana I expect Klinsi to sneak Brooks onto the field at some point…just a little “hey, you ain’t switching teams buddy.”

    Like

  • Matt

    To use a phrase that bandied about more in NBA circles, he’s got amazing upside potential. He’s big, strong, fast, and has good instincts…he just has to learn the position better and become more consistent. Is he as good as Goodson now? No. Does he have the potential to be better? Yes.

    Like

    • Bac

      I’d still put him behind a healthy Omar, but I think he’s better than Goodson right now

      Like

      • GW

        When both are healthy, confident and in form, Brooks is better than Omar.

        He is better on the ball and I get the impression he actually knows what to do with the ball when he has it. Gonzo can be a wrecking ball when he gets hot but overall Brooks is just a better all around soccer player.

        Like

    • Remy

      By the time was selected for the World Cup roster, he had scored more goals (2) in the Bundesliga than Donovan in MLS and Jozy in the EPL combined. So I say he does deserve to be there.

      Like

  • Clover362

    Brooks has a lot of potential and I’m ok with his inclusion. No one should be writing gonzo off forever. Gonzo is suffering from an injury and a lack of form (likely resulting from lack of confidence and his injury). When Gonzo is healthy and in form he is one of the best defenders in MLS. Gonzo has a lot of room for improvement (fixing his ball watching problem) but he is still young and if he dedicates himself to it he could definitely be a starter on the USMNT in the future. That said it’s stupid to have anyone on the 23 man roster that you are not comfortable going into the game.

    Like

    • Tim H.

      You’re right. Gonzo is suffering from injury. And he has potential. No doubt about that. There’s a reason the Galaxy secured his services and European clubs like Nurnberg were after him at one point. But his performance in an USMNT kit thus far is far too inconsistent and does not justify his inclusion on the roster.

      Like

      • shawn

        Or maybe the fact he play all qualifying and we qualified top of group.

        Like

      • Tim H.

        So you’re saying he was the main reason we are in the World Cup? He played extensively during qualifying because Jurgen was attempting to find the right combination, along with the fact that our backline has been our weakness for quite some time now. Other than Goodson, Jurgen didn’t have many quality options at centerback. Watch the qualification games from last summer or ask yourself why during the World Cup, Gonzo was nowhere to be found, yet Goodson and Besler started when it mattered. I can count on one hand the numbers of games Gonzo looked decent. Meanwhile, we can make an extensive list of games in which Gonzo was the weak link, and we don’t even had to go that far to do so. The Nigeria game. Or the Mexican game in Arizona back in May.

        Like

      • Tim H.

        My bad. I meant Gold Cup, not World Cup. But I will also add there really is one game you can go to and say that Gonzo looked really good and worthy of his potential and upside. And that was the game in Mexico back in the Spring of 2013.

        Like

  • Hilla

    There is a very small chance that Everton has any interest in Brooks, and if they are I am utterly underwhelmed. Why is Everton always lumped in with Aston Villa, West Ham, Stoke City, and Newcastle when they have been so, so much better than any of those teams for such a long period of time.

    Like

  • blokhin

    “John Brooks’ successful first season in the Bundesliga has earned him a number of suiters from abroad, including in England.”

    “Last season, Brooks made just 16 Bundesliga appearances with 14 starts, battling injury, a lack of form, and personal issues with his manager before winning back his starting spot late in the season.”

    LOLWUT?

    Like

  • shawn

    Alot of fake Americans here. If it’s not one of there fav USA players cough Donavon. Then they pretty much undermine the players skills and success

    Like

      • GW

        “fav USA players cough Donavon”

        Most people cough up phlegm. What is don Avon? Is he related to don corleone?.

        Like

  • Mark

    The important thing is that he get consistent playing time in a first division league. Be that England or Germany, it doesnt matter as long as he is playing.

    Like

    • Tim H.

      This. He won’t receive much playing time this upcoming season. He was already the third-choice at CB and is going to be pushed further down the lineup with Heitinga signing with Hertha. West Ham or Aston Villa could provide a lot more of that than Hertha at the moment. And gives him more exposure to a new league and their style of play. Would be crucial for furthering his development as a quality CB.

      Like

  • Pep Guardiola

    If he’s smart he’d stay in Hertha Berlin to establish himself more.

    If JK is smart. he should sub-Brooks in in the Last minute of the Ghana game as a time killer and to cap-tie him.

    Like

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    Like

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