Ricardo Pepi is on the verge of a blockbuster transfer to German Bundesliga side Augsburg for a $20m fee plus add ons.
The deal is turning heads as the reported fee would mark a new record for highest price paid for an American Major League Soccer player since Villarreal signed Jozy Altifore for $10m in 2008.
The transfer would also stand as the second-largest fee ever paid for a MLS athlete, only behind Miguel Almiron’s $27m move to Newcastle United in 2019.
Additionally, the signing would shatter the Bundesliga team’s transfer record.
But how is it that Augsburg swooped in to secure the player after teams like Bayern Munich, Ajax and Wolfsburg were in the lead to land Pepi?
The team is currently sitting in 15th place on the Bundesliga table, merely one point away from a relegation spot. No current player on the roster has more than three goals this season, winning only four games in 17 and forcing a goal difference of negative nine.
The move is believed to be spearheaded by Augsburg minority owner and American investor David Blitzer, who reportedly bought a 45-percent stake in the club and will fund the Pepi deal.
This wouldn’t be the first time we see an American club owner favor it’s North American counterpart during a transfer window.
Venezia FC owner and club president Duncan Niederauer made headlines in 2021 by signing Gianluca Busio to the Italian club. Like Pepi, Busio was reportedly linked to top clubs in Europe before eventually joining USMNT teammate Tanner Tessman on the Serie A roster.
Former FC Dallas player Bryan Reynolds had a similar trajectory in early 2021. He was linked with Juventus and AC Milan before making the move to American owned AS Roma for a franchise-record fee.
Augsburg is expected to announce the Ricardo Pepi deal soon following a medical in Germany.