American international Aron Johannsson, the striker for AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands, is reportedly set to move from the Eredivisie to the Bundesliga, to play for Werder Bremen. While Johannsson’s play over the past few seasons has propelled AZ from a bottom table club to a Europa League contender, he has long been linked to a move away from the Netherlands in order to further his career.
“AZ has reached an agreement in principle with Werder Bremen over the transfer of Aron Johannsson,” the Dutch Eredivisie side wrote on its website. “The club has given the 24-year-old striker permission to come to a personal agreement with the Germans. If AZ and Werder complete the details of their agreement, Johannsson agrees on personal terms and he passes his medical, the American national team player will sign a multi-year contract with Werder Bremen.”
There’s no better chance for the USMNT striker to prove he belongs amongst the top strikers in Europe.
While Johannsson has struggled occasionally with the national team, at the club level he has been nothing short of phenomenal. Johannsson has scored roughly every two games with AZ, netting 39 goals in 81 appearances across all competitions with the club.
After taking over the starting striker role from fellow national teamer Jozy Altidore in 2013, Johannsson has set the Eredivisie on fire with his incredible positioning, deft skill on the ball and knack for scoring boatloads of goals. A move to the Bundesliga seems like the most natural transition for a player of Johannsson’s ability.
For Bremen, the move to get Johannsson arguably makes more sense than it does for the young striker. Werder Bremen is a traditional mid-table club, with great fans, great tradition and a great group of players for Johannsson to join. The place where they’re severely lacking is striker.
Franco Di Santo shocked Bremen fans when he left for rival Schalke just last week. Fearing he would get no playing time behind Di Santo, German youth international Davie Selke left for second division side Red Bull Leipzig, leaving Bremen with no real striking options. Enter Johannsson.
In Johannsson, Bremen gets a player who loves scoring goals and constantly seems to find himself in the best possible position to do so. With the caliber of a Bundesliga side like Bremen, there’s little doubt Johannsson will get the service he needs to score like he did in the Netherlands. With Bremen devoid of legitimate striking options, Johannsson will get the ability to come into the locker room immediately and make an impact.
With so much fierce competition in European football today, it’s rare that an American could start immediately on a Bundesliga side, but in Werder Bremen, it seems that Johannsson may have gotten his chance.
At just 24, Johannsson still has a long way to go before his career is over, and a move to the Bundesliga may help him develop into the best player he can possibly be. The physicality of defense in the German league will challenge Johannsson to get stronger on the ball and more deft with his touches if he has any hope of scoring at the rate he does in the Netherlands.
Ultimately, the person who will be most pleased with Johannsson’s move to Werder Bremen is USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Jozy Altidore has struggled with fitness lately with Toronto FC and Klinsmann obviously prefers the Bundesliga to MLS, which could propel Johansson into the top striking spot on the national team.
A move to Werder Bremen seems like the perfect challenge for Johannsson. USMNT fans hope he can develop into the stellar goal scorer he has the potential to become.