With German Bundesliga mainstays VfL Wolfsburg announcing they'll move on from United States international defender John Brooks when his contract expires this summer, the Extratime crew believes the time is right for an MLS move.
“One-thousand percent,” said Charlie Davies during Thursday’s episode. “Remember, this is a player who has done really well in Germany and in some cases with the US men's national team. But as of late I think it’s been a struggle for him. And so now leaving the Bundesliga, it would be a great time to re-establish yourself, build yourself back up and come to Major League Soccer for the first time, right?”
Brooks’ uneven form with Wolfsburg has left him out of US manager Gregg Berhalter’s most recent plans. The 29-year-old last appeared for the Americans in a September 2021 World Cup qualifier against Honduras and hasn’t been called into camp since last October (withdrew amid back issues).
Even so, Davies, David Gass and Andrew Wiebe agreed there are a dozen or so MLS teams that could use the left-footed center back’s services. And MLS might be a better place to regain confidence and play his way back into contention for international duty, said Gass.
“Can you spend the money to get him there and say, ‘Hey look, Walker Zimmerman and Miles Robinson got themselves into the team through playing week in and week out in MLS. We can offer you that as well,'" Gass posed.
Davies agreed plenty of MLS teams could use a center back of Brooks’ pedigree. And although he’s spent most of his career as a regular Bundesliga starter, Davies thinks he could be signed with Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) rather than a Designated Player contract.
“If every team in the league is like, ‘Hey, you’re high-end TAM,’ then you’re high-end TAM,” Davies explained.
Among the most interesting potential landing places? Signing with Chicago Fire FC would represent a homecoming of sorts for Brooks, whose father is from Illinois. At Real Salt Lake, he could be a building block for the club’s new ownership group. At the LA Galaxy, he would perhaps be the last piece of manager Greg Vanney’s rebuilding puzzle, without requiring an international roster spot.
Wherever he theoretically lands, Davies said the nature of the center back pairing is important.
“It's important that they pair him, whoever he goes to, he's paired with someone who has pace," Davies said.
The 45-times capped US international has over 200 Bundesliga appearances with Hertha BSC and VfL Wolfsburg. He's also featured in 13 games across the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.