John Brooks is staying at Hertha Berlin, at least until the summer. The club's CEO Michael Peetz had previously speculated that Hertha might have to sell Brooks if he did not agree to a new contract, but has now told Kicker that the centerback will stay on.
"There will definitely be no transfer of John Brooks in winter," Peetz said.
Hertha are concerned about Brooks' contract status because his current deal expires in 2017. If he doesn't sign a new contract in the next few months, he will head into the summer with just one year left on his deal. That will leave Hertha in a terrible spot for a place: either having to sell him on the cheap or risk losing him on a free the following year.
It's no wonder that Hertha were very seriously considering selling Brooks if he didn't sign a new contract. But Brooks also knows that he holds much of the leverage right now so refusing to sign a new contract unless it meets all of his needs makes sense for him. Now Brooks' short-term future is secured, but his long-term future is as shaky as ever. If he can continue playing well, he should get everything he wants, but Hertha can't like the position they're in, and if Brooks struggles then he may end up getting less than he is currently hoping for.
Brooks has been excellent for Hertha of late. The United States international started the season inconsistently, as has been the norm for him in his young career, but he was splendid in the month before the winter break and helped Hertha climb to third place in the Bundesliga. Now the 22-year-old appears primed to find the steady form that has eluded him thus far, and if it comes, will make him the linchpin of a defense just like Hertha and the U.S. have envisioned for years.