Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin accepts that Celtic linked wonder-kid Brenden Aaronson will leave the MLS for Europe ‘sooner rather than later’, while speaking to ESPN.
The New Jersey-born 19-year-old is labelled America’s answer to Kai Havertz for a reason and, during the 3-0 thrashing of New York Red Bulls on Monday, he scored a goal that Chelsea’s new £72 million signing would have been proud of.
Picking up the ball on the edge of the box, all Aaronson needed was one touch before rifling a rip-roaring shot into the back of the net.
You would imagine that another moment of magic from the latest teen sensation to emerge from across the pond will have added an extra dollar or two to his price-tag.
Celtic recently joined a host of Bundesliga clubs in expressing their admiration, according to MLSSoccer in July.
And Curtin knows that it is only a matter of time before Anderson is following in the footsteps of Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna and new Juventus signing Weston McKennie on European soil.
“Multiple leagues and multiple clubs in each league (have shown an interest). Now you have real competition for a player and that just speaks to the player that Brenden has become. It’s something for him to be proud of, for his teammates to be proud of and for the Philadelphia Union to be proud of, too,” Curtin says.
“I’m a realist and ultimately (his exit) is going to be sooner rather than later.”
Curtin adds that, while Aaronson’s technical ability has caught the eye, no one should be undervaluing the physical gifts of a young man who recently outshone the £15 million-rated Los Angeles star Eduard Atuesta.
“In the United States, we have to get past this idea that only the fastest and the strongest and the biggest are the ones that make it in soccer. Brenden has a lot of physical tools and qualities, but he’s not the 200-pound, 6-foot-3, muscle guy.
“He has to do it by thinking fast. You saw it as a kid that he was really gifted and talented. You knew he was special.
“LAFC is the best team in the league and people value Atuesta at about $20 million (£15m). Brenden, I thought, outplayed him in that game and that really kind of cemented in my mind, like, ‘OK, yeah, this kid is ready.'”
Odsonne Edouard, Virgil van Dijk, Kieran Tierney, Moussa Dembele and Kristoffer Ajer have been set on the pathway to stardom at Celtic.
The green half of Glasgow, then, may be a sensible stepping stone for a suave, slaloming attacking midfielder.
Celtic’s record transfer sales
£25 million (Arsenal)
£19.7 million (Lyon)
£12.5 million (Southampton)
Virgil van Dijk
£11.5 million (Southampton)
£10 million (Southampton)