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Report: Leeds United closing in on Brenden Aaronson transfer

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Leeds United chased Brenden Aaronson’s services since the final weeks of 2021 and reportedly is closing in on finalizing that deal after securing English Premier League safety.

Aaronson is set to join the Yorkshire club on a transfer worth approximately $30 million, Salzburger Nachrichten reported on Tuesday. The Red Bull Salzburg midfielder’s move to England is all but complete pending a medical, according to the report.

The Medford, New Jersey native enjoyed an impressive 2021-22 season in Austria, helping Matthias Jaissle’s side win the Austrian Bundesliga title and the Austrian Cup for the second-consecutive season. Aaronson totaled 41 appearances for Red Bull Salzburg in all competitions, scoring six goals and adding 10 assists.

Aaronson started in all eight of Red Bull Salzburg’s UEFA Champions League matches, helping the Bundesliga side reach the Round of 16 before being eliminated by Bayern Munich. The former Philadelphia Union homegrown registered two assists the German giants.

Aaronson also helped the USMNT clinch a spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, scoring two goals and adding one assist in 11 qualifying appearances under Gregg Berhalter. He missed the final three qualifiers due to a knee injury.

A move to Elland Road would reunite Aaronson with former Salzburg manager Jesse Marsch, who took over as Leeds United boss in March following Marcelo Bielsa’s firing. Marsch posted a 4-5-3 record during his time as manager, leading Leeds United to a 2-1 road win over Brentford on Sunday to avoid relegation from the top-flight.

Aaronson would become the second former MLS player in the Leeds United squad, joining former New York City FC winger Jack Harrison.

Comments

  1. frankly, anyone watching with the ability to evaluate saw BA was a talent some time ago, perhaps the most talented player in the US pool (I know, CP and Gio are everyone’s choices but we’ll see about that over time; nice to have more than one candidate!). But it was his Champions League performances this past season (I watched EVERY game, he was awesome) that got him this money.

    There is no way he makes this pay jump staying in MLS, no way.

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  2. Leeds United academy is not up to par with the Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United Academies etc., so maybe Jesse Marsh can use MLS to locate and later groom young talent. 3 – 4 weeks training sessions sometime in between MLS seasons to test / evaluate young promising MLS talent and see if they can “keep up” (especially since Leeds do not have deep pockets like that).

    Talent like:
    Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas, 21)
    Cade Cowell (San Jose, 18)
    Caden Clark (NY Red Bulls, 18)
    Thiago Almada (Atlanta United, 20)
    Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire, 17)
    Facundo Torres (Orlando City, 21)
    Alan Velasco (FC Dallas, 19)

    Its going to be interesting to see Brandon Aaronson playing against the best in the EPL if that deal goes through…..

    Reply
    • I think Aaronson will do pretty well. He played really well against Bayern when RB Salzberg faced them in the Champions League, to the point even Bayern was tracking him. They really apparently like his close control, relentless iron lungs and work ethic, and super-tight turn radius.

      You do wonder if his slight stature is going to be a problem in the Prem but if he can stand the bruising and the frequent kicking I think he’ll be fine. He has the skills and the stamina.

      I was on here advocating for much the same, and a lot of the same guys. I also think they should grab Walker Zimmerman, who is older but who would fit their profile pretty well in the Prem, since they need a guy who’s a better defender than a distributor since I don’t see Leeds building a ton out of the back the next couple years – especially against top squads – but bunkering and countering. As a pure defender and a guy who can convert on free kicks and set pieces Zimmerman’s as good as there is…he’s also really good at getting his head up and dropping balls over the top to bypass the midfield and Leeds is going to need that. I think he’d help them, a lot.

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    • Sorry I love all of those players but none of them are ready to be regulars at Leeds. Almada came to Atlanta for 16 million, assuming Velez gets some sell on money ATL isn’t letting him go for under 30 million and Leeds isn’t paying that for someone with 4g 2a in MLS. Clark was immediately sent back to MLS by Leipzig and then has been hurt. Velasco leads the league in combined miscontrols and dispossessions not something Leeds can afford. Cade and Gaga are Championship level at this point not EPL. In EPL where everyone is athletic Cowell’s technical deficiencies would stand out. Torres has 2g, look at Almiron dominated in MLS he’s done little in EPL just 1g this season. Ferreira would have to have the right situation but I really think he’d be better served going to Belgium or Netherlands and playing and training under pressure before having to do that in EPL.

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      • “Sorry I love all of those players but none of them are ready to be regulars at Leeds.”
        100%. Jack Harrison wasn’t an immediate EPL regular either . He was loaned out by Man City from MLS and couldn’t even get playing time with Middlesbrough. Look at him now. Young players from the Liverpool academy or from the Manchester City academy almost never immediately make the first team. Those players are young and will need to train and develop with the first team, learn the system, show they understand the style of play, ride the bench for a little, sub in occasionally and then finally make a run for first team minutes. Its more about getting access to exceptionally young MLS talent which has nothing to do with them being immediate regulars, but them developing into the Leeds system to become good league players.

        Which is the difference between Man City and Liverpool. One team just goes out and buys players (looking for immediate starters / regulars), while the other develops and grooms young players through their system (which you are better off doing if you do not have deep pockets)

      • I guess I misunderstood your point. The price those players would command isn’t going to allow them to just sit and develop slowly over time. I also don’t want Jesus Ferreira sitting around watching right before the WC.

  3. What the heck, they didnt post my comment
    .
    I said to be clear I think $30 million total. $20 million MORE
    and
    I get the comments, but Philly left a lot of money on the table, no doubt about that.
    Need to realize that MLS is an actual league too….very competitive, easier to shine at Salzburg where the season is a foregone conclusion ( won 10 out of last 11 ).
    also…. you bring those arguements to me as the Philly Union owner. I fire you. Salzburg saw the value. Philly management didnt.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry, but while I know the Austrian Bundesliga is not very competitive, that’s not why he got this transfer. It was his performances in the Champions League that did, especially against Bayern.

      No way he gets that amount in a transfer if he stays in Philly. Also, with Philly getting the sign on bonus, it works out for them too. Would Philly he getting the same amount from one transfer if they held on to him versus two? Doubtful.

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  4. Philly trying to act like this wasnt a massive mistake on their part.
    .
    so they keep BA and make $20 million more while he plays for them for another year and a half
    OR
    Act like a small time league and let the “big boys” ( Austria, where the median team draws 5k ) play in the big money and pretend you aren’t jealous…or a fool.

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    • First off, I’m glad for BA. Love his game. But…
      —-
      What makes you think BA commands a $20M transfer fee playing in MLS?
      —-
      It’s not the 5k Austrian butts in seats that matter… More likely the 500 eyes of scouts watching Barca who inadvertently discovered BA, then looked at his sats, then went back and watched his tape.
      —-
      I think Philly came out ahead here. Anti-American bias is real and those looking for evidence that Americans aren’t worth the money can find it if they want to. For every BA, there is a Pepi (american ownership pushed and overpaid for an apparently bad transfer the manager didn’t want… american didn’t produce), Donovan, or Mueller.
      —-
      Players need to “prove” they can produce in Europe before Europe will pay this kind of money for a young CM.

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      • “Players need to “prove” they can produce in Europe before Europe will pay this kind of money for a young CM.”

        As they should.

        FC Salzburg beats up on the rest of the Austrian League constantly. Any notion that BA doesn’t spend most of his Austrian BL time beating up on crap teams is just wrong.

        But, as OldNSlow pointed out, Salzburg also regularly play in the Champions League and BA, besides being a proven international regular, got a chance to show his stuff vs. some top teams. Leeds was pursuing him BEFORE Jesse was their manager.

        Of course Leeds did go after Daniel James, the Welsh Ariolla.

        MLS has many examples of players and managers coming over here from over there and failing to produce as expected.

        In part that has often been attributed to their failure to adjust to what is a very different league.

        Why shouldn’t the reverse be true?

        Especially when you are talking about unproven prospects, like the ones listed by bizzy, who almost certainly have the requisite talent but aren’t even International level regulars :

        Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas, 21)
        Cade Cowell (San Jose, 18)
        Caden Clark (NY Red Bulls, 18)
        Thiago Almada (Atlanta United, 20)
        Gabriel Slonina (Chicago Fire, 17)
        Facundo Torres (Orlando City, 21)
        Alan Velasco (FC Dallas, 19)

        It takes more than just having the skill and the talent to succeed in the Top 5 and maybe even more to succeed in the EPL.

        You don’t just waltz into the EPL because you’re inexpensive.

    • Philly made ~2 years of revenue on this sale. This is the business model of the 1st place Union, so I don’t think they feel this is a mistake. We are a small time league, and selling on players is how to stay profitable. As this is also the business model of most European teams even in the first tier, I don’t think you have a great philosophical base.

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    • I dont know that they would pay 20$ million if he stayed in MLS. Rightly or wrongly (but rightley), Leeds and most other teams value the quality of Austrian league over MLS. Otherwise, why dont they buy his brother for cheaper now. They likely see it as he proved himself by succeeding at Red Bull Austria.

      I hope its not true I wount be shocked if he ends up getting hacked, injured and missing the World Cup while playing in the Premiership.

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    • I was saying $30 million to be clear. $20 million MORE.
      I hear what others are saying, but no matter what your view Philly left a LOT of money on the table.
      One other thing to consider however, is MLS is actually competitive. Unlike Europe, tougher for BA to shine when you are playing games that are NOT a foregone conclusion.
      (Salzburg has won 10 out of the last 11 seasons)

      Reply
      • “One other thing to consider however, is MLS is actually competitive.”

        That’s just one thing to consider. There are lots of others.
        Player evaluation is always a case by case basis.

        It is very common for players from tougher leagues than MLS to fail in the EPL. Even though they are not Americans.

        Timo Werner has not exactly been a complete bust but he hasn’t been a roaring success either.

        You all are also conveniently forgetting than BA learned and showed improvement after he moved to FC Salzburg.

        There is zero reason to think he would be as good as he is today had he not gone to Salzburg. Getting bought by Leeds tells you much more about BA himself and his own drive than it tells you about MLS.

        MLS helped BA get to a certain point.
        It will do that for others as well. Though I notice that Ariolla and Roldan aren’t as good as BA. Why is that?

        BA took advantage of things he could get in Salzburg that he couldn’t get in MLS. Like getting tested in the Champions League. Then he took it the rest of the way.

        That doesn’t mean that every other American MLS player will do the same.

        Just because you’ve played in MLS it doesn’t mean you are magically guaranteed success in Europe; here are other guys NYCFC has sent elsewhere. Not all of them are Jack Harrison or Joe Scally

        https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/05/28/leeds-ace-in-9-nycfc-stars-to-move-to-europe-as-everton-eye-12m-man/

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