Johannsson extends AZ contract to 2018

Aron Johannsson AZ Alkmaar (Getty Images)

By CAITLIN MURRAY

Aron Johannsson should be playing for AZ Alkmaar up until at least the 2018 World Cup.

The U.S. Men’s National Team striker, who made the 23-man roster for Brazil, has signed a contract extension with AZ through summer 2018, the club announced Friday.

“Aron has quickly developed into the forefront of AZ. With this new contract, we want to reward him for his good performance,” AZ director of football Ernie Stewart said in a Dutch-language statement Friday. “It’s amazing that he immediately became top scorer. Hopefully Aron continues along this path, so he’s going to deliver much more beauty.”

Johannsson was the top scorer for AZ last season with 25 goals in all competitions and AZ finished eighth in the league.

The 23-year-old will represent the U.S. when they begin their World Cup campaign June 16 against Ghana in Brazil.

What do you think of this news? Think it would be a good move for Johannsson to stay with AZ as the 2018 World Cup approaches? Think he can continue to be a top scorer in the Eredivisie?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Americans Abroad, Featured, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to Johannsson extends AZ contract to 2018

  1. Ga1atic0 says:

    What ever you do don’t get purchased by a lower table team.

    • Matt C says:

      good point particularly with his set of skills. Would rather seem him at a team that actually knocks it around a bit. Like an Arsenal (not saying he’s good enough to be there..but). Maybe some place in Spain. And definitely NOT a team struggling for survival.

    • James says:

      I’m a little perplexed by these recent pre-World Cup signings. He already has a good resume with AZ, with a strong WC he would have had leverage for either a larger contract, or a transfer to a larger team/league. Not sure why he didn’t wait a month or so for this.

      • milbo says:

        or he could get injured- get a reed card and miss a game – America could bomb out of the world cup .. It’s all about his exposure now —

        With the US -predicted by the pundits to finish close to last again – a guaranteed contract in AJ’s case is not a bad idea

        • James says:

          But there’s no way he isn’t resigned by AZ. He’s well established there, and they would sign him again even if he’s injured

      • Nate Dollars says:

        same as the klinsmann extension. they’re betting they’re not going to look so hot this summer.

      • QuakerOtis says:

        It works both ways: you flop, and you still have contract. You excell, and your club can represent a little more leverage because you’re “in contract” until year X.

      • Bob says:

        I don’t think this will impact when he leaves AZ – it’s just the club ensuring they get a nice payout whenever they do sell him. If he does well at the World Cup, this will ensure both Aron and AZ get a nich chunk of change.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        In addition to the above possible explanations, I would add: focus. Aron can go into the Cup worried only about the Cup. Maybe that works for him.

  2. Del Griffin says:

    Please Kilnsmann give him a chance to start ahead of Jozy

    • Josh D says:

      Aron deserves a start but im not convinced he can take Jozy’s spot. Jozy is needed for his physicality (when he actually uses it), whereas Aron just isn’t that kind of striker. If anything he’s a replacement for Dempsey which is why it was a mistake to start Wondo ahead of him.

      After the World Cup, in a meaningless friendly I’d love to see:

      ——-Guzan——
      Chandler-Cameron-Brooks-FJ
      ——-Bradley—-
      Zusi–Mix–Green
      —-Aron—Jozy—-

      We’ll start moving away from Jones and Beckerman as DMs. Williams and Bradley are our best bet then. I expect Mix to do enough this summer to earn a move somewhere else, and we need to start him more.

      Zusi starts only because in my tired state of mind I can’t think of someone to compete with him. And let’s give Green a full 90 to see what happens.

      Dempsey will stick around, but after 2016, I don’t see him starting much.

      • Nate Dollars says:

        i agree generally about aron over wondo–since both aron & jozy can play as center forward, supporting striker, and winger, it gives us tons of flexibility without the need for subs.

        however, against azerbaijan, i think wondo was the better pick, since we were just going to be sending balls into the box all day, and that’s where wondo excels.

        i still don’t see how that game was very helpful for us. especially in a group like ours, where much may come down to goal difference, i don’t see any of those teams sitting back and letting us attack them.

        • Matt C says:

          Nate, i truly think that Klinsi used that match much like you would a scrimmage or a practice session. And i think the focus wasn’t so much on the front 3 or 4, it was more about the back four, Jones and Jr.

          The lack of high pressure and the ability to have time on the ball allowed our defenders, jones and Jr to work on their spacing and ball movement…around the back then into the middle of the diamond…and then out to the wings… The lack of pressure also gave our wing backs opportunity and confidence to go forward often.

          will it be that easy in the warm ups…or at the Cup? Nope. But at least Klinsi and tell the team that that’s how he wants them to be play. Keep that confidence…etc….

          Let’s see that they do vs. Turkey.

          • Nate Dollars says:

            that’s reasonable, i guess. just wish we were beyond that at this point, but that’s the way it is.

            also, if it was really more about our back line, i’m wondering why we didn’t get to see fabian at LB (where he’s played most of his club career) and chandler and RB (where he’s played most of his club career). i’m trusting that klinsmann is going to work that in sooner rather than later, but it’s kind of confusing so far.

            • Jesse says:

              I know that both players are talented enough to man either fullback role, but I agree with you. Fabian has a left foot, and can hit a solid cross with it. Chandler, will rely on cutting back in to his right foot. I think Fabian should be on the left and Chandler on the right.

              • Dave says:

                My theory is Fabian on the right is all about CR7 and lack of trust that Chandler is ready for that responsibility.

        • Josh D says:

          We will face moments when our opponents are playing for a result. Maybe they’re up by one and park the bus with 20 mins to go.

          Historically, we’ve had a horrible time breaking down teams in those situations. This was a good test to see who could do that. Mix did that; Aron proved he’ll put the only real chance he gets away; and Zusi and Bedoya showed they aren’t the players to break down a team who park the bus.

          • QuakerOtis says:

            But to be fair, I think Zusi’s play and crossing were fine. What if Wondo had put one of those away? Would you still think Zusi can’t break teams down?

          • Dennis says:

            It was really off a free kick, Mix sort of touched the ball, that then fell to Bradley who took a great shot. Mix was in the right spot to knock the rebound home, while it was a nice opportunistic goal, it was NOT any great play on his part in breaking down a packed defense.

      • Citronomics says:

        Serious ?… with this lineup, might it lessen MB90 potential contribution as true 2-way mid able to link wth the wings and forwards in the attacking third and create positive play?

        That said, if this is your starting lineup and formation, then MB90 would be my starter too in the d-mid role.

        • bryan says:

          well he said this lineup is based on the future. Mix is that creative guy for us in the future. so that pushes Bradley back, which is ok. he’s still good there and he’ll still contribute. there is always the option to use Bradley in that more advanced role and use Williams as the #6. honestly, if Williams continues on his current path, it’ll be hard to keep him out of the lineup.

          able to play #8 and #6, but quoted as saying his favorite and best position is as a #6. him and Bradley could be fantastic together.

        • Josh D says:

          Bryan – Exactly my thoughts.

          The Williams question is an interesting one. Does Mix become a better attacking central mid than Bradley? Does Williams become a better pure DM than Bradley? Bradley’s best position is one where he’s given free reign in the midfield. But a diamond requires specialists at the top and bottom. Do we see a time when Bradley is the one moved out wide? I don’t think so for the foreseeable future, but I think Mix has huge potential and Williams is playing so confidently right now that he’ll catch up to Bradley in time.

          • bryan says:

            yeah, i’m really curious to see what happens with Williams and Mix next year.

          • Mason says:

            I’ve wondered what Bradley would be like on the side of a diamond midfield. He’d probably pinch a lot, so the fullback on his side would have a lot of room to attack/cover.

      • Jesse says:

        If you are looking for someone to compete with Zusi at RW, how about Gatt?

        • bryan says:

          he’s always injured. i think we would all love to see Gatt become a serious option there.

        • Josh D says:

          If Gatt didn’t get injured when he did and if he moved to the Dutch leagues like was rumored then yes, he would have been there.

          However, his back to back injuries will rob him of his pace. His pace was the only thing he had. Like Shea, Gatt has a lower soccer IQ and needed a trip to Holland or Portugal to learn technique and passing before he could move to a top league. I don’t see that happening for him anymore. He’ll have a good career and we may see him in a US jersey again. But I’ve seen too many fast wingers get injured at his age and never develop the IQ part of their game.

      • ZTom says:

        ——-Guzan——
        Chandler-Cameron-Brooks-FJ
        ——-Bradley—-
        Zusi–Mix–Green
        —-Aron—Jozy—-

        So, let’s see, 6 foreign players (4 Germans-Green, Chandler, Brooks, FJ & 2 Scandinavians-Dikerud & Johansenson)….

        Why have any USA kids at all, Josh? That would be my question.

        • Remy says:

          The ones who were born abroad are United States citizens according to the US constitution. It is not up to you to decide their nationality and who they chose to represent. Plus Aron was born in Alabama and Green in Florida.

          • ZTom says:

            Remy, you and the fanbois just don’t get it.

            7 of our 20 outfield players do not live in USA, have no plans to live in USA and, imo, will never live in the USA. That’s different from the hard-working immigrant story which was the case in the past (not always, Ernie Stewart and David Regis, for example).

            Furthermore, if Klinsmann dislikes USA players so much, why doesn’t he just go manage a Scandinavian club like Mjallby in Sweden or Tromso in Denmark? He’d be off all winter, so could return to SoCal and maybe even have opportunity to lecture US players on their shortcomings, not to mention MLS.

            Then, he could have all the cute, long-haired nordic boyz on his team that he wants, as he seems to really be man-wet for them, and ze Germans could easily be recruited being EU players and all that.

            • away goals says:

              “It’s different from the hard-working immigrant story of the past…”

              Turns out there are like, a thousand other american stories though. Johannsson being born here and then living his entire life in another land is 100% the story of an american.

              Me spending my entire life in iowa, while a little depressing, is also 100% the story of an american.

              The two may have very little in common, but they’re both american stories. Crazy, I know.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Well said, away goals.

              • ZTom says:

                Away Goals, cute story but no.

                In fact, you might want to have your head examined, you are out there, and by out there, I don’t mean Iowa out there, lmao.

      • Lost in Space says:

        Josh….IMO with the players the USMNT will have available in the near future I think JK and his staff will move towards a variant of the 4-3-3.
        I’m envisioning something along the lines of:
        ——————————Jozy/Boyd———————-
        ———–Johannson———————Green———-
        —————Diskerud—————Bradley————-
        ——————————Williams————————
        Fabian——————————————–Chandler
        —————-Brooks———–Cameron—————-
        —————————Guzan——————————-
        Johannson & Green float inside & outside making runs to open space. Mix & Bradley playing the #8 roll of Box-to-Box CMs. Williams plays the stay at home # 6. Fabian & Chandler provide the width w/ their overlapping runs.
        Subs:
        Bedoya, Zusi, Gyau/Shea/Gatt, for Green & Johannson
        Powers, Torres, Edu, Rowe for Mix & Bradley
        O’Neal, Kitchen, Trapp for Williams
        Lichaj, Klute, Acosta for Fabian
        Yedlin, Farrell, for Chandler
        Besler, Gonzalez, Ream, Packwood, Okugo, Hedges for Brook & Cameron.
        Hamid, Sean Johnson, Clark, Irwin for Guzan.

        If these players continue to progress, avoid injuries, etc….this could be a very dangerous squad to face. Add in a couple more duel nationals, like Nagbe, The kid @ Arsenal, The kid in Brazil, etc…. and they could have the potential to inflict some real damage. Especially since there are potentially 4 major tournaments between 2014 WC and the 2018 WC (Gold Cup, Super Copa, Olympics, Confed. Cup) in which to blood players, Hone the team, and build chemistry.

  3. Matt C says:

    Setting up for the transfer market. He will not be at AZ more than another year.

    • Josh D says:

      I agree. But I think he stays another year.

      • QuakerOtis says:

        Right. I don’t see him doing so well he *has* to get picked up by a better team. And another year of 20+ goals at AZ as a 23-yo is a good spot to be in. No reason to rush him either, as he’ll still be 27 for 2018!

        • Citronomics says:

          Like this perspective. Successive campaigns in Holland, assuming he continues to produce at the same level, should validate/boost Aron’s value and set him up for a jump to a bigger league.

  4. Mikey K says:

    WHOOT! WHOOT! Go Iceman!

  5. JakeTheSnake says:

    Good news for Aron. If he stays on form I dont see him staying there past 2015 or possibly 2016

  6. Wispy says:

    Earnest Stewart. So formal.

  7. Ryan says:

    Are there any online links to watch ESPN’s US Soccer specials from last night?

    • bryan says:

      not sure they’re allowed to yet. hopefully they’ll make them available on the Netflix 30 for 30: Soccer Stories streaming folder soon.

    • Josh D says:

      They’re showing them against Sunday before the game.

    • DB says:

      I actually stumbled across them on this really popular flash video site the internet has…not sure how long they’ll last, but it might be worth a gander…

  8. malkin says:

    Why doesn’t he go to Sunderland?

    • Paul says:

      LOL! I see what you did here :).

      I just hope that AZ’s need for big money doesn’t screw him either. Sometimes, the teams that play with that kind football aren’t going to pay the highest dollar amount when a player is being shopped around.

    • Remy says:

      I honestly think that Aron is a much better technically gifted player than Jozy is or will ever be. Sunderland sucks but Aron would probably fair much better if, God forbid, he went there.

  9. bryan says:

    i’m into this. he can have himself a good World Cup, then put together another solid season and no doubt he’ll have some quality teams (e.g. CL) looking into him as a serious option.

  10. beto says:

    Good move for him! $ and security; hopefully AZ can make it to Europa and he can contine to grow.

    After a good WC, Gold Cup, Copa, potential bigger club games he is setting himself up in a good position.

  11. Relegate US says:

    Come home to MLS, Aron!

  12. JayNay says:

    This is very disappointing. I expected him come to his senses and sign for Montreal Impact

  13. Dace says:

    I’m willing to bet part of that new deal is a hefty buyout clause, probably no less than $15m-$20m

  14. George Baldwin says:

    He needs to go to a team like Sunderland!

  15. KingGoogleyEye says:

    Anyone watching this Ghana v Netherlands friendly? Ghana’s midfield has been unexpectedly unimpressive, but their high press offense has almost paid off.