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Wolfsburg Make John Brooks The Most Expensive American Player In History

Photo credit: Maja Hitij/Getty

This summer’s transfer window isn’t even officially open yet and we’re already seeing some crazy, record-breaking fees being thrown about. Like Paul Pogba a year ago, the source of the (arguably) biggest, most (relatively) eye-popping fee that (not quite) everyone is talking about is the record-smashing amount Wolfsburg just paid for USMNT stud center back, John Brooks.

Pogba, you probably recall, was the subject of what is currently the world’s most expensive transfer ever when Manchester United signed him from Juventus last summer. Following in those footsteps today is America’s very own Brooks.


The 24-year-old, who is set to star for the Red White and Blue come next year’s World Cup in Russia, has just been signed from his hometown (Brooks is the son of an American but was born and raised in Germany) club, Hertha Berlin, by big and rich (and also very bad this past season) Wolfsburg for—take a breath now—a whopping €20 million! Incredible! Historic! Maybe underwhelming if you look at it wrong but in fact shocking and awesome!

You see, while €20 million may not rate very high when superficially compared to Pogba’s price, which was technically more than five times larger, the truly significant fact here is that the fee Brooks just fetched absolutely demolishes the previous record of the most ever paid for an American player. The prior number was set back in summer of 2013, when Sunderland bought Jozy Altidore from AZ Alkmaar for a then-respectable, now paltry-looking €10 million. ESPN FC collected the other biggest fees Americans have been transferred for:

These figures should make clear how monumental an occasion this is. Brooks’s fee is solidly twice as big as Altidore’s. Meanwhile Pogba’s allegedly more impressive record is but a hair higher than the earlier world record of €100 million that Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale, which itself was only a few million more than Manchester United got for Cristiano Ronaldo (€94 million). So sure, 105 is bigger than 100, but 20 is double 10, and I’d rather double up on some previous record than merely sneak by it by a little bit.

The point here is that, when properly appreciated, Brooks’s record is clearly one of the most impressive ones in world soccer, one that is arguably much cooler than Pogba’s inching up of the overall transfer fee record last year. As important of a moment as an American player finally being sold for a respectable amount of money is, let’s also not forget that this record too is bound to fall—and probably pretty soon. We’re most likely only a few years away from the wonderteen himself, Christian Pulisic, breaking even Pogba’s record when Barcelona sign him from Borussia Dortmund in the near future. The message is clear: it might have taken us some time to get going, but American soccer is here. And we’re coming for all the records.



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