German Bundesliga club FC Augsburg confirmed the arrival of American phenom Ricardo Pepi, with the Texan signing a long-term contract with the Bavarian team as they push to avoid relegation.
The long saga surrounding the future destination of the Texan forward finally came to a close on Monday afternoon, as Augsburg confirmed the rumors that had arisen over the weekend that they had beaten a long list of European competitors for his signature.
“FC Augsburg has secured the services of US top talent Ricardo Pepi from FC Dallas,” the club announced on their website. “The striker, who was named the best U22 player of the season at the age of 18 and has six points (three goals, three assists) in seven senior international matches for the USA, will receive a long-term contract until June 30, 2026, which also includes an option for a further extension until 2027.”
While the exact fee paid by Augsburg to FC Dallas for Pepi’s future were not made public by either club, it has been heavily rumored that the Germans put down somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million, far surpassing the amounts offered by the long-rumored likely destination VfL Wolfsburg.
“We are delighted that Ricardo has decided to move to FCA despite the interest of numerous top international clubs,” the FC Augsburg Sporting Director Stefan Reuter said in the club’s press release at signing. “We are convinced that he will continue to develop in Augsburg and that we will all have a lot of fun together in the years to come.”
The current USMNT starting striker joins a team which is currently fighting for its life in Germany’s top level, sitting a single point outside of the relegation places at the season’s midway point.
They did manage to close 2021 with a decent run of only one loss across their last six games, one of them being a shocking 2-1 win over their neighbors and perennial German champions FC Bayern. However, they have still won only four times across their 17 Bundesliga contests, averaging only one goal per game.
Pepi leaves Dallas as one of the most heralded and successful products of their productive youth academy, having scored 15 goals in 55 MLS games. More recently, he has bursted onto the scene in Gregg Berhalter’s USMNT squad, scoring three goals in his first seven internationals – six of those seven games being high-pressure World Cup qualifying matches.
As Augsburg’s record signing, the Texan will likely have immediate chances, if not expectations to contribute to their attack, with their first game after the short holiday break already coming up on Saturday afternoon with a visit to Chris Richards and Hoffenheim.