Few in the game know Brenden Aaronson better than Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin.
It was Curtin who gave the USMNT star his senior debut back in 2019, with the Pennsylvania native going on to make 57 appearances for the Union, scoring seven goals and assisting another six before earning a move to RB Salzburg.
So impressive has Aaronson's time in Europe been so far - scoring 13 goals and assisting 15 in 65 games for Salzburg - that he's already on the verge of another big move to the Premier League with Leeds United.
The Whites had made multiple attempts to sign Aaronson in the winter but were knocked back, with Salzburg telling 90min at the time that they had no intention of selling players in January. But after securing their Premier League status for another season, it's understood that Leeds have finally been successful in their chase for the 21-year-old.
Speaking at a press conference this week, Curtin commented on Aaronson's meteoric rise, as well as the financial windfall coming the Union's way.
“It's a wild ride, if you really look back how quickly Brenden has risen, on the field most importantly,” said Curtin. “The dollars are the dollars and certainly that's great and that's part of our model and it certainly helps the league, it helps ownership, and helps everything.
“It's really good, the money side of things, but to watch the kid now go in the last 18 months from great MLS player to a great national team player to a great player in Europe, and now going to the Premier League.”
The transfer will see Aaronson link up with another of his former managers, Jesse Marsch, who manned the Salzburg dugout as the attacking midfielder initially crossed the Atlantic. Aaronson totaled seven goals and five assists in 25 games under Marsch before he departed for RB Leipzig, and Curtin is confident the duo can enjoy success again.
“Obviously congrats to Leeds and Jesse [Marsch], dealing with pressure that none of us will ever, probably, feel in our lives. What he handled with poise and character was really amazing. I'm proud of him,” said Curtin.
“And then now Brenden will join that group and look, Jesse will get the most out of Brenden, no question about it. I don't know, nothing's done yet, so I don't want to get caught getting ahead of myself. But that's a good partnership for sure. And it's a great place for him to be – if it does get finalized – that is great.”