Philadelphia Union: Brenden Aaronson the next big MLS export

Philadelphia Union midfielder Brenden Aaronson is attracting the attention of European clubs. The 19-year-old appears to be the next big MLS export.

Homegrown player Brenden Aaronson may become the Philadelphia Union’s greatest export in club history. The 19-year-old is being linked to multiple clubs in Europe and seems set on a major move in the near future as Major League Soccer continues its growth into a development league.

This week, Taylor Twellman of ESPN  confirmed the interest in the American midfielder. German newspaper Bild has also reported interest from Eintracht Frankfurt and SportsBuzzer listed multiple Bundesliga clubs in their report. Tom Bogert of MLSSoccer.com mentioned interest from Scottish champions Celtic.

Needless to say, a lot of clubs are being name-dropped here which means there appears to be legitimate interest in Aaronson from across the continent. Since his breakthrough into the starting XI last season, Aaronson has been excellent for the Union, and he has only upped his performance level this season, notching one goal and one assist in five appearances.

At 19, he is still developing at Philadelphia, with manager Jim Curtin providing him with plenty of minutes to do so. Last year was his first full season with the Union senior team. Yet, even as an 18-year-old, Curtin did not shy away from playing the inexperienced midfielder. He made 28 appearances in his rookie season in MLS.

This year, he has started every single game and is now used as a crucial player in the team. The attacking midfield role at the tip of the Union diamond is one of the most important positions in all of MLS, and Aaronson plays it superbly.

He is also regarded as one of the top prospects in the United States Men’s National Team pool. In February, he made his senior team debut with a place in the starting XI against Costa Rica. The U.S. U-23 team would have also featured Aaronson at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament had it proceeded, and if the Olympic Games are held in 2021, he could well look to lead the American team.

By the time the Union’s season comes to an end in 2020, it could be the last time Aaronson plays for his club. At the rate he is progressing, several European clubs will make offers in this summer’s window — likely with a six-month loan clause inserted such that Aaronson can play out the 2020 season with the Philadelphia Union — and in the winter window at the end of the MLS season.

The league’s track record of producing talent has reached new levels with Alphonso Davies and Tyler Adams excelling in the Bundesliga. Meanwhile, Miguel Almiron has found his feet and best form for Newcastle United, Weston McKennie still shines as a great FC Dallas export, and the likes of Diego Rossi, Brian Rodriguez and other young players around the league are still attracting interest from major European clubs.

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The success of these players will likely pave the way for players like Aaronson to go abroad. And given that many left at a young age, keen to gain experience of European football as early as possible instead of stagnating in a lesser league like MLS, it is not unreasonable to think that Aaronson will make the jump sooner rather than later.

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