Weston McKennie is finally set to move to the Premier League with confirmation coming on January 30 of a transfer that will take the 24-year-old from Italian club Juventus to a Leeds United team that is stockpiling U.S. national team talent.
The USMNT midfielder had been at Juventus since moving to Turin in the summer of 2020, first on loan and then via a permanent deal a year later. While he developed during his time with the Italian giants, there have been plenty of bumps in the road, and it felt like time for the 24-year-old to move on.
Juventus were rocked in January 2023 by a 15-point penalty in the Serie A table due to a financial scandal that has now impacted the club’s transfer plans, since it’s unlikely that the Old Lady will secure a place in the lucrative Champions League next season.
Leeds United take full advantage with a deal sealed just before the winter transfer deadline, as confirmed by the player himself on Instagram.
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Official, confirmed. Weston McKennie joins Leeds United on loan deal from Juventus for €1.2m fee plus €33m buy option clause and add ons. 🚨⚪️🇺🇸 #LUFC
Contract signed, deal completed. pic.twitter.com/E2Byg7HisP
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 30, 2023
Latest McKennie transfer news
Days before the official announcement, Gianluca Di Marzio, Fabrizio Romano, and Matteo Moretto all had reports about Leeds contacting McKennie’s representatives and holding discussions with Juventus officials.
Leeds manager Jesse Marsch, who is a fellow American, also contacted with Weston McKennie to make a pitch to the Juventus midfielder. The reports stated that Marsch explained exactly how McKennie would fit at Leeds and how he would be used at the Premier League club.
On January 24, Di Marzio reported that McKennie gave his approval for a move to Leeds. After Fabrizio Romano reported that talks were “progressing well” between the clubs, on January 28 he confirmed that a deal was reached for a €1.2m (£1.05) loan fee for the rest of the 2022/23 season, plus an option to purchase McKennie’s contract for €33m (£29m) plus add-ons.
McKennie arrived in Leeds on Sunday, January 29 and held the medical the next day to consummate the deal.
🚨 Weston McKennie from Juventus to Leeds on loan with option to buy now verbally agreed. Personal terms also in place. 24yo USA midfielder in Turin, should arrive tomorrow to complete move. Looks too late for rivals:https://t.co/GN3oai2t49@TheAthleticFC #LUFC #Juventus #Juve https://t.co/utrq4ADyGO
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) January 28, 2023
Leeds are facing a relegation battle in the Premier League, sitting 15th in the league with 18 points, just one point above the drop zone. They could use McKennie’s work rate, personality and aerial ability to help make a difference.
McKennie to Premier League rumors
According to reports in Italy, including from Gazzetto dello Sport, multiple Premier League clubs had made contact with Weston McKennie’s agent hoping to secure a move for the American this January.
The report stated that Arsenal, Aston Villa, and Fulham were at one point all in contact with the agent and club to feel out whether a transfer was viable. It also stated that Juventus had set an asking price of between €20-25 million for a total transfer fee.
However, the report also mentioned at the time that McKennie would have liked to stay at Juventus unless a “top club” made an offer. Premier League leaders Arsenal were closest to fitting that bill, but it was unlikely McKennie would have been anything more than a backup to the trio of Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, and Martin Odegaard who are all in exceptional form at the moment.
A move to Fulham would have made the most sense among the others, given the club’s American connection and status as a top-half side, but a place in European football still seemed unlikely for the high-flying Cottagers and that would have been something McKennie would not have wanted to miss out on.
Finally, the report stated that German side Borussia Dortmund and French club AS Monaco also made enquiries in the summer, but not much resulted from that outreach.
There have also been links to Liverpool in the past, as recent as in the aftermath of the 2022 World Cup. The Daily Mail named McKennie as a possible loan option for the Reds, who are in desperate need of midfield options due to injuries and poor form.
Weston McKennie contract, salary at Juventus
Upon joining Juventus permanently from Schalke in the summer of 2021, Weston McKennie signed a four-year contract which ran through the summer of 2025.
That meant he still had a decent amount of time remaining on his Juventus deal, which likely provided the Italian club leverage in negotiations.
According to Gazzetto dello Sport in 2020, while McKennie was on loan at Juventus, the American was on wages of around €2.5 million per year. That was before signing his permanent contract, which saw him earn €3.2 million per year, according to Capology.