Brenden Aaronson is heading to the Premier League.
The 21-year-old American midfielder is leaving FC Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian Football Bundesliga in a transfer to Leeds United in England, the club announced on Thursday.
The five-year deal will run until the summer of 2027. Though Leeds United did not disclose the transfer fee in their team statement, MLS insider Tom Bogert reported the deal is worth $30 million:
Aaronson emerged from Philadelphia Union’s academy in 2018. He spent a year with Bethlehem Steel, the Union’s affiliate team, before making his first MLS appearance in 2019. He spent only one season with Philadelphia before RB Salzburg acquired him for $6 million.
He joins a Leeds side that just survived relegation on Championship Sunday. The deal would not have gone through if the Peacocks were relegated to the EFL Championship. Aaronson now joins Raphinha, Illan Meslier, Daniel James, Joe Gelhardt and Pascal Struijk as some of the promising youngsters on the squad.
It’s a deal that marks an important milestone for U.S. men’s soccer. The reported $30 million transfer fee makes Aaronson the second-biggest American signing in Premier League history.
Of course, the top spot belongs to 23-year-old Christian Pulisic. Chelsea bought the young winger from German side Borussia Dortmund in 2019 for $73 million.
It is also the second-biggest signing ever for an American. It tops Sergino Dest’s $23.1 million transfer from AFC Ajax to FC Barcelona in 2020 and Weston McKinnie’s $22.5 million transfer from FC Schalke to Juventus F.C. in 2021.