Erik Palmer-Brown will take his soccer talents to Manchester, England, next year.
The United States youth national team defender has signed a pre-contract with Manchester City and will join the Premier League club in January as a free agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle and The Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell. Palmer-Brown will finish the 2017 Major League Soccer season with Sporting Kansas City before starting his European soccer career in earnest.
He signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with Manchester City, according to Metro.
Palmer-Brown, 20, is one of the most promising young American players. He captained the U.S. U-20 national team that won the 2017 CONCACAF championship and reached the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup quarterfinals.
Sporting KC wanted to re-sign Palmer-Brown and had previously rejected transfer offers from European teams, including Juventus. But Manchester City enticed him with a contract offer the MLS team couldn’t match, and he also reportedly turned down offers from Paris Saint-Germain, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax.
“We believed we made him a very good offer in MLS,” Sporting KC coach and technical director Peter Vermes said, per The Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell.
“He came to us and said there might be an opportunity. I said to him, ‘Look, if that’s what you want to do, then we’ll support you. He’s played out his contract. It’s happened with other guys. It’s just one of those situations.”
Palmer-Brown played just 18 games after making his MLS debut in 2014 and spent the 2016 season on loan with FC Porto, playing 17 games for the Portuguese club’s “B” team. He returned to Sporting KC this season, but Matt Besler and Ike Opara have kept him out of the starting lineup.
Manchester City almost certainly won’t add Palmer-Brown to its Premier League and Champions League squads this season. Instead, City likely will loan him to one of its feeder clubs, one of which is MLS’ New York City FC, for at least six months before reassessing him next preseason.
Thumbnail photo via Gary Rohman/MLS/USA TODAY Sports Images