Edit: It’s official.
If a report out of Germany is to be believed, John Brooks is set to become the most expensive U.S. international the world has ever seen. Famous outlet Bild is reporting that the German-American is on the move from Hertha Berlin to Wolfsburg for a transfer fee of €17 million. Other reports out of Berlin seem to back up the claim:
Quickly gathering pace this story. Berlin papers report the 24-year-old will move. Would become the most expensive soccer player ever.— DW Sports (@dw_sports) May 30, 2017
Assuming the deal gets officially completed, it would smash the record for a transfer fee paid for a U.S. men’s national team player. That record is held by Jozy Altidore, two times, in fact. In 2013, Sunderland paid $13 million to AZ Alkmaar for Altidore. That’s currently the biggest fee. This transfer would value Brooks at around $18.9 million, destroying that record.
This is a bit of surprising news considering that Hertha Berlin are guaranteed Europa League soccer next season and Wolfsburg are less than 24 hours removed from saving their Bundesliga lives in a relegation playoff with Eintract Braunschweig. However, when looking at previous seasons, it’s clear to see that Wolfsburg are desperate to regain their prestige in Germany. In the 2015/16 season they finished one place behind Hertha in 8th and a year earlier they were runner-ups for the league title and a Champions League team. Perhaps Brooks is one of the first moves they intend to make to get their club back on track.
For Brooks, this decision must be incredibly tough as he’s been with Hertha Berlin, his hometown club, for his whole career. He came through their youth system and made his first team debut in 2011. After 152 appearances for the club, it appears he’s set to say goodbye and will net Hertha a nice chunk of change in the process.