Last year notwithstanding, the month of January is usually a pretty quiet month for Juventus when it comes to the transfer market. This year it is especially true, with the ongoing off-the-field issues at Juve impacting any sort of business that might have been possible to try and reshape a flawed squad.
The one move that always seemed possible during the winter transfer window is very much now a reality.
Juventus announced Monday evening that midfielder Weston McKennie has moved to Premier League side Leeds United on loan for the rest of the 2022-23 season. McKennie will become the third United States men’s national team player at Leeds, who will pay an initial €1.25 million loan fee for the 24-year-old American. Leeds has a €34.5 million buy option to make McKennie’s move to Elland Road permanent this summer — which is certainly going to be contingent on Leeds avoiding relegation to the Championship this season. There are also another €4.5 million in possible add-ons to the deal, pushing the value of the deal to over €40 million if every benchmark is achieved.
McKennie, who was in attendance during Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Monza before flying out to England, underwent his medical exams earlier Monday before signing his contract.
Here is the official wording of the deal, courtesy of Juventus’ press office:
Turin, 30 January 2023 - Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that an agreement has been reached with Leeds United Football Club for the temporary disposal, until 30 June 2023, of the registration rights of the player Weston McKennie for a consideration of € 1.25 million and bonuses up to a maximum of € 0.25 million upon achievement of agreed sporting objectives.
The agreement further envisages the right for Leeds to definitively acquire the player’s registration rights; the agreed consideration for the definitive disposal is € 34.5 million, payable in five years; the consideration might be increased up to a maximum of € 4.5 million upon achievement of further performance objectives over the duration of the employment contract with the player.
The above disposal amounts include the solidarity contribution envisaged by FIFA regulations.
McKennie arrived from Schalke in the summer of 2020 and was the first American male to ever play for Juventus. He had a strong first season in Turin under then-manager Andrea Pirlo, with the former midfield maestro’s high-pressure and hybrid formation suiting McKennie’s skillset about as well as one could have hoped. McKennie was one of Juventus’ best players the first half of the 2020-21 season before a rib injury sucked him of his form and prevented him from replicating his strong play during final months of the year.
McKennie had spurts of good form under Max Allegri, but could never fully replicate what he did during Pirlo’s one-year tenure. He missed three months of the season last year after breaking a bone in his foot against Villarreal in the Champions League Round of 16. This season, McKennie has scored three league goals in all competitions.
In moving to Leeds United, McKennie becomes the third American on the roster alongside national team teammates Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson. On top of having American ownership, Leeds is managed by former U.S. midfielder Jesse Marsch.