Leeds United will most likely see Brendan Aaronson return to Elland Road this summer despite his current loan club, Union Berlin, having a clause that allows a purchase.
That is the view of the German outlet Sports Bild, via Sports Witness, who report that Berlin’s season is lurching from one disaster to another. They exited the Champions League after a dismal campaign this week, and they’re 15th in the Bundesliga, which is only a single place outside of the relegation spots.
That situation has left the outlet in no doubt that a move for Aaronson, who has appeared 17 times for the German side, would be ‘unthinkable,’ meaning a likely return to Elland Road. His move to the Bundesliga included a clause that could see Berlin purchase the United States international, but instead, he seems destined to return to Leeds as Die Eisernen focuses on retaining their top-flight status.
That echoes the experience of Maximilian Wöber, who is also currently appearing in the Bundesliga, but who is set for a return to Leeds should they achieve promotion from the Championship at the end of the current season. His side, Borussia Mönchengladbach, are not struggling in the division, but he will not remain there if Leeds are promoted due to a clause in his contract.
Aaronson joined Leeds from Red Bull Salzburg in 2022 for a fee believed to be around £25m. The 23-year-old started his career with Philadelphia Union before moving to Red Bull Salzburg in Austria in 2018 for a fee that was worth up to $9m (£7.1m) in 2020.
His Leeds career came at a turbulent time for the club, with a manager change and relegation from the Premier League. He appeared 40 times in all competitions, scoring once as the Whites beat Chelsea 3-0. He has represented his country 38 times, scoring on three occasions, and played in all three group matches at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
If Leeds do go up, having two players with 30+ matches in Germany’s top-flight return to the club will be a huge boost. The pair would probably be worth upwards of £40m, but they’ll feel like brand-new players.
Aaronson will be better for his experience in Germany. His side might not be doing well, but he’s played Champions League football against Real Madrid and Napoli, something that will stand him in better stead for a Premier League campaign.
The complication comes if Leeds are not promoted – do they cash in on the young American? Would they be able to recoup enough of his fee? Supporters will be hoping they don’t need to worry about that and that their stay in the second tier is for a single season, just as Aaronson’s stay in Germany seems to be.