On Friday morning, it became official.
Philadelphia Union announced a record transfer for homegrown Brenden Aaronson to FC Red Bull Salzburg in a deal that will see Aaronson join the Austrian top division champs in January.
While the sale was rumored for many weeks, the journey to a final agreement started far earlier than fans might have known. As both the Union and Aaronson continued to develop and the talent shined on the pitch, there was always a perfect European fit for the homegrown.
“I’ve always been a guy that is constantly watching soccer on YouTube from Chelsea to Liverpool, and I stumbled across Red Bull Salzburg and their history of developing players and being an unbelievable club and it stood out to me when the interest started coming in,” Aaronson told the media during his press conference at Subaru Park. “I think Salzburg is the perfect fit for me just with the way that they play and an amazing coach too. The way that they play is out of a 4-2-2-2 and as I’ve been told I’ll be sliding me in as a No. 10 I think that formation really fits me well with their whole team dynamic. Constantly pressing the ball and playing forward, I think that it just fits my style of play.”
As Aaronson grabbed the headlines at the MLS is Back Tournament with skillful dribbles and next level vision on the ball, Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner kept the player and his family informed about possible European destinations. When Tanner joined the Union after spending six years as Academy and Youth Football Head at FC Red Bull Salzburg, he was surprised at how much Aaronson knew of the Austrian side.
“He was pretty well informed about Salzburg and we were talking about the level of the Austrian League and the opportunity to play in the Champions League,” Tanner said. “It’s important to have someone who supports you inside the club and we have a very strong feeling that Jesse Marsch is supporting Brenden.”
Tanner noted on Friday that the club had been “observing Aaronson for one and a half years” but that discussions got real in early September. In the end but in the end it was a perfect fit for everyone involved. FC Red Bull Salzburg gets a promising prospect who is getting crucial minutes in MLS while Aaronson looks to end his Union career with silverware as the Union push for both the Supporters’ Shield and the MLS Cup.