Aaronson had deal with Leeds contingent on EPL survival

Updated May. 30, 2022 10:45 p.m. ET

CINCINNATI (AP) — Brenden Aaronson was in a cafe in Vienna not too long ago, viewing Leeds' season finale against Brentford. The American midfielder had a deal to join the Whites, but it was contingent on Premier League survival.

“I'm sitting there sweating and pacing around the cafe," he said of the May 22 match. "And, yeah, it was tough to watch, but they got the job done. ... And the next day I was there."

Aaronson's contract was announced Friday, a five-year deal for the 21-year-old from Medford, New Jersey. He joined Red Bull Salzburg from Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union in January 2021 when Jesse Marsch was coach of the Austrian team, and he reunites with Marsch at Leeds.

Aaronson had six goals and 10 assists in 41 matches in all competitions last season as Salbzurg won its ninth straight league title and fourth consecutive Austrian Cup. He has five goals in 18 international appearances and is on the U.S. roster for four World Cup prep matches next month.


“I got a little, I guess, definition about the player that Leeds want, and I think I fit that," he said. “They celebrate a tackle like a goal. And I'm going to be that guy that's not only going to be the creative outlet ... I'm gong to be the guy that's working hard, too, and that's what Leeds is.”

At the World Cup in November, the U.S. opens against Ukraine, Wales or Scotland, then plays England and Iran.

“We're going to the World Cup to win it," Aaronson said. “We're not just there as participants."

Notes: With Zack Steffen skipping the U.S. training camp, New England's Matt Turner is likely to get starts. Turner transfers to Arsenal in July and projects as a backup to Aaron Ramsdale, similar to Steffen's role behind Ederson at Manchester City. “I've been playing pretty well in MLS for the better part of three years now, and given the environment of transfers for goalkeepers in particular, this is the first real interest, first real offer that I've had," Turner said. “Being a week-in, week-out starter in MLS didn't guarantee me to be a starter here for the national team. ... I needed to shake things up in my club career."


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