John Brooks to join Wolfsburg for record fee for U.S. player - reports
United States defender John Brooks is set to leave Hertha Berlin and join Wolfsburg for at least €17 million ($18.9m) -- the highest fee ever paid for a U.S. international -- according to multiple reports in Germany.
Brooks, 24, came through the ranks at Hertha and has made 90 Bundesliga appearances for the club.
However, despite being under contract until 2019, reports say the Berlin-born centre-back is set to move to Wolfsburg. Bild put the value at €17m and Sky at €18m, while kicker reported on Tuesday morning that the deal was imminent and put the value at €20m.
Any of those numbers would easily top the previous highest reported transfer fee for an American player, the €10 AZ Alkmaar received from Sunderland in 2013.
|Most expensive reported transfers of U.S. players in Euros|
|Jozy Altidore||10m||13-14||AZ Alkmaar||Sunderland|
|Michael Bradley||7.4m||13-14||Roma||Toronto FC|
|Clint Dempsey||6.8m||13-14||Tottenham||Seattle Sounders|
|Jozy Altidore||6.5m||08-09||N.Y. Red Bulls||Villarreal|
|Matt Miazga||4.6m||15-16||N.Y. Red Bulls||Chelsea|
|Tim Howard||4.2m||07-08||Man United||Everton|
Speaking at Hertha's general assembly on Tuesday night, sporting director Michael Preetz said: "John Brooks has informed us he wants a transfer. He will leave the club, but the deal has not been completed yet."
After securing another year of top-flight football in the relegation-promotion playoff with Eintracht Braunschweig on Monday, Wolfsburg are looking to add stability to their defence.
Although Brooks played in 24 Bundesliga games for Hertha last season, he has struggled with injuries and been criticised in local papers.
He started the U.S.'s 6-0 World Cup qualifying win over Honduras in March, though he missed the following game after suffering from dehydration.
Brooks was also a first-choice center-back under previous U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, for whom he started a pair of qualifying defeats in November. His first appearance in a competitive game for the U.S. came in the 2014 World Cup, when he scored an 86th-minute winner to beat Ghana in the group stage.
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg are close to selling Ricardo Rodriguez to AC Milan, the left-back's agent told Radio24.
"The basic details are sorted out, we go forward and there's a very good chance it will go through," said Fabio Parisi. "Everyone wants to finalise the move, the player wants to join Milan and Milan want to sign him. We just had to wait for the Wolfsburg result. I really think the move will be completed."
Reuters reported on Tuesday that Wolfsburg, owned by carmaker Volksmagen, have been told to trim their budget by about €90m next season.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.