Roster News

Report: Union agree transfer of Brendan Aaronson to Red Bull Salzburg

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Philadelphia Union have reached a verbal agreement to transfer Homegrown midfielder Brendan Aaronson to Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg at the end of the 2020 season, reports Tom Bogert of

Bogert reports that the deal is yet to be finalized and is pending a medical. Other terms, including a transfer fee, have not been reported.

The Union have not commented.

Transfer rumors have swirled around Aaronson, 19, after strong performances in the MLS is Back Tournament earlier this year. After joining the first team at the start of the 2019 season, Aaronson has played in 40 MLS matches, starting 37 of those, along with two playoff games last season and three knockout games in the Orlando tournament. He has one cap for the United States men’s national team.

He has six goals and five assists in MLS play.

Red Bull Salzburg is managed by a familiar name — former New York Red Bulls skipper Jesse Marsch, a teammate of Union manager Jim Curtin during his playing days. Also familiar with the Austrian side is Union technical director Ernst Tanner, who spent six seasons at Salzburg from 2012 until joining the Union. Salzburg have won seven consecutive league titles in Austria and are well-positioned to qualify for the group stages of this year’s UEFA Champion’s League. Salzburg has a reputation as a stepping-stone club in Europe, having played a part in the development of star players like Erling Haaland and Sadio Mane.

Keeping Aaronson through the end of this season is good news for the Union. Although the club has been in sterling form since the return to regular season play, losing Aaronson would have been a major hole for the Union to fill down the stretch. Figuring out who will replace Aaronson at the tip of the diamond will be a major focus this offseason for Tanner and the Union’s technical staff.

The transfer is a big moment for the Union Academy, considered a key part of the Union’s developmental model. Aaronson becomes the first Union Homegrown to be sold to a European side. It remains to be seen whether a similar move is forthcoming for center back Mark McKenzie, who is also receiving interest from clubs in Europe.


  1. OneManWolfpack says:

    Makes me angry cause now I can’t buy an Aaronson RB Salzburg jersey, because F Red Bull in all their forms. But overall, I’m happy for the kid, and I hope he tears it up, comes back, and wins an MLS Cup with the Union in 2030. Hope it’s worth it financially for the Union and they make smart use of the money. I would also assume there’s a clause that doesn’t allow him to be transferred to the Pink Cows for any reason, at any point.

    • While I sympathize with the comment, be mindful our sporting director and our whole system of play and player development……is based off the RB model. Oh, the irony…….Lolz.

      • 100%.
        Totally astute.
        In my opinion, it is no coincidence this kiddo is being sent to an Ersnt team. Maybe ET pulled a few strings. It’s also no coincidence I bet, Mark McKenzie is in talks with Celtic considering Tommy Wilson’s connections.
        At this point, as I mention down thread… the Pipeline has done nothing by way of producing international caliber players.
        It’s great and all 6 guys were on the field this past weekend (personally I don’t give a fuck), earning almost zero dollars and costing the organization almost zero dollars to keep its overhead as low as possible…….. if that is what lights someone’s wick, man…. I’m in this for different reasons.
        Bread them. Develop them. Debut them. Move them on…. wherever you need to in order to build the narrative, create the excitement and belief somethnig of value is really happening in Philadelphia.

      • Exactly. Bread them, develop them, debut them, earn a reputation and have an established methodology…..and win some hardware along the way. This is the way. Lolz

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I can absolutely enjoy a Red Bull model/style of play and not support them financially by purchasing any of their products. Which is how I’ll proceed.

      • Wolfpack……are you taking your ball and going home? You mad bro? Lolz…….

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Nah man… never get angry about stuff like this. Not worth anyone’s time. Just wanted to clarify my point, that’s all.

      • Hey man, I admire your vitriol toward NJPC….it’s the way it’s suppose to be.

  2. I am interested in the “sell-on” clause. This could spell good $$ from future transfers…

  3. Go get em Brendan, best of luck!

  4. happy for him. the first goodbye of many, i hope. i’d like to know academy talent is highly regarded, showcased with the first team, and eventually shopped out to the next level of development. this progression is good.

  5. It all depends on price. If it’s the rumored 5mil they shouldn’t sell him.

  6. In Tanner We Trust says:

    This is very bittersweet. So happy for him, he deserves everything he will receive. That being said, I’ll miss him like crazy.

  7. How to replace him next season? Aaronson is dead! Long live Aaronson! (The hard part will be replacing Paxton in 2023).

  8. Keep the assembly line moving. No stops. Just deposit the cash on the way out the door please.
    Good luck to Brendan. Can’t wait for Paxten.

  9. Puyol el Campio says:

    Wow, lots of stone cold bottom liners here, it seems (Also you guys do realize you are saying “bread them” as in, to bread a piece of meat, rather than “breed them”, like you would to a prize steer. Some similarities there I suppose.

    Either way, I get the desire for cold hard cash for the club. And I agree with it as a long term move. But, I think we should take a moment before counting our millions to shed a tear for a lad who grew up in the system, and made these last two years much more bearable. Sad to see him go, and my hope is that they replace him with an impact player, if one of the Academy players isn’t up to the task yet.

    • Rumors are he’s here till the end of season. There’s plenty of time to tear, sob, and look back fondly over the memories.
      We’re ten years in and we’ve been waiting for this since year one. We have been sold this line since year 3 or so. A move like this continues the Union down the road to legitimacy. Let it happen. Make it happen. Sign the damn papers already. I want this move to cause chaos and uncertainty. From there opportunities arise. Players step up or step out and new heroes are born.
      Get Brendan out in the Old world. Let him show what we have to offer here. For when he does show, it’s not just his name, nor his current team’s name that will be heard. There will also be whispers of “Union. Philadelphia Union. Yes that Philadelphia. That’s right. In America.” And the legend will grow.

    • You do realize there is a hint of sarcasm to what Fritz and I write? Not just bottom line….it’s how clubs, who put big stock in their academies, like the Union operate, get used to it. How do you think a supporter at a place like Southampton or Ajax feels? Do they cry? No, they don’t freaking cry….you know why they don’t cry? Because it’s football and they are used to it…….now dry those tears son and carry on, you’ll be ok……..

      • Puyol el Campio says:

        I get it, you view this as a business. Good for you. I prefer the human element. Maybe you missed it among your condescension, but I said I agree with the move, and understand it. But there seemed to be no thought about missing a player who has made the last couple of years fun to watch. Sorry you got all up in arms when somebody slightly disagreed with you. Maybe be less sensitive, old man?

  10. Arrinson is the tip of the diamond…now he’s the tip of the iceberg for the academy! It’s great to see this happening to the Union! It’s great for the young man! Congratulations to him and all the best! I hope that the academy can keep it up.

  11. Who cares about the money. This was our (the Union’s) best player and the only one who could have drawn in more fans and viewers. I definitely enjoyed watching this kid play, I do wish him a great career, but why would anyone here care if this is good for Salzburg. This right here is a statement that says the Union will never, ever have an exciting star long enough for the city or its fans to rally around. Oh joy.

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