John Brooks: Benfica, not Mallorca, swoops to sign US defender

John Brooks: Benfica, not Mallorca, swoops to sign US defender

John Brooks has secured a late upgrade, with the U.S. men’s national team center back pivoting from an apparent agreement with Mallorca to a deal with Portuguese power Benfica.

Brooks, who has been out of contract since his time at Wolfsburg ended in June, had reportedly agreed to a deal with Mallorca that would have seen him join the Spanish top-flight side, but a late development on transfer deadline day has resulted in a twist that could yield minutes on a significant stage. As a free agent, Brooks was not bound to deadline day and could have completed his move after the summer transfer window shut, but as it is, he has signed a one-year deal with his new club.

The questions about the move center on whether Brooks will play regularly—and if he’ll play soon enough to return to the U.S. national team picture in time to get back on the World Cup radar. Benfica has relied on Argentine veteran Nicolás Otamendi and 21-year-old Brazilian Morato for all of its matches this season, but the latter suffered an ankle injury in the club’s most recent game and is reportedly set to miss the next 4-to-6 weeks. Meanwhile, Belgian veteran Jan Vertonghen is reportedly set to leave the club for Anderlecht as well. That could be the opening Brooks needs to slot in and make an immediate impact, especially with Champions League group games on the horizon.

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