Aaronson's transfer will be officially completed on July 1. The 21-year-old committed to a five-year deal, running until the summer of 2027. The news was first reported by MLSsoccer.com.
UPDATE, May 25 – Brenden Aaronson has arrived in England to conduct a medical and sign the contracts to complete his $30 million transfer from RB Salzburg to Leeds United, sources tell MLSsoccer.com.
Aaronson will then join up with the USMNT for a June camp that includes friendlies against Morocco and Uruguay before Nations League games.
The Union will receive $5 million in their sell-on clause from the original deal that saw Aaronson join Salzburg in the winter of 2021. That brings the total package of that original deal to $14 million.
Aaronson has been a long-term target for Leeds, first identified by the club while Marcelo Bielsa was still the manager. Bielsa badly wanted Aaronson to be signed in the winter as part of the relegation fight, but Salzburg held firm in their desire to keep Aaronson and other key starters through the end of the season.
American manager Jesse Marsch took over for Bielsa on Feb. 28, long after Leeds had begun their attempts to sign Aaronson. He was a long-term target.
A deal was agreed between Salzburg and Leeds for the summer, pending Leeds' Premier League status. On Sunday, MLSsoccer.com originally reported the agreement was in place after Leeds avoided relegation on the final day of the 2021-22 Premier League season.
ORIGINAL, May 22 – Leeds United are finalizing a deal to sign US men's national team attacker Brenden Aaronson from RB Salzburg for around $30 million, sources tell MLSsoccer.com.
A deal has been agreed for a while, pending Leeds’ Premier League status. On Sunday, they beat Brentford and avoided relegation in emphatic fashion.
Additionally, the Philadelphia Union stand to benefit from this deal. The club have a tiered sell-on clause in Aaronson, between 10-20%. They will receive $3-6 million, in addition to the $9 million they already received, including incentives, from the original deal, per sources.
Aaronson spent 18 months at Salzburg, winning the league in both seasons. He had 13 goals and 16 assists in 66 appearances with Salzburg in all competitions, including a run to the Champions League's Round of 16 this year.
American manager Jesse Marsch took over at Leeds in the spring, after Leeds had multiple bids rejected in the winter to sign Aaronson. The former CF Montréal, New York Red Bulls, RB Leipzig and Salzburg manager has a strong relationship with Aaronson after their six months together in Austria. Marsch and Aaronson's first professional head coach, Jim Curtin, are very close as well.
Leeds avoided relegation by three points. They were expected to go down before the final day started, with Burnley having a significant advantage in goal difference, but Leeds beat Brentford while Burnley lost to Newcastle.
If Leeds got relegated, the deal would have fallen through. Had that happened, there was no guarantee that Aaronson would have left Salzburg this summer. The club weren't actively looking for him to leave, only agreeing to a deal with Leeds because of the great finances and Aaronson's desire to join Leeds. A $30 million price tag would be difficult for other interested clubs to meet.
Aaronson has made 18 appearances with the USMNT, a crucial part of qualification to the World Cup at his young age.