Leeds United said to be locked in negotiations for German left-back Kai Wagner.
Leeds United have concluded the majority of their summer business but owing to an injury to the team’s primary left-back Junior Firpo and Jesse Marsch having to play Pascal Struijk out of position for the time being, this could be an important piece of business for Leeds.
Manuel Veth, Forbes journalist, commented that, “Although there has been no official bid by Leeds to Philadelphia Union. There has been good communication between Leeds United and the Kai Wagner camp per source. Understanding is that there is still time in this window and all sides want the best solution. To continue.”
BUT, WHO IS KAI WAGNER?
Kai Wagner started his professional footballing career with SSV Ulm 1846 competing in the Oberliga Baden-Württemberg, the fifth tier of German football. In his only season at the club, he helped secure the promotion to the fourth tier. Subsequent seasons with FC Schalke 04 II and Würzburger Kickers followed where he competed in the fourth and third tier respectively.
In 2019, he ended up signing with Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer for an undisclosed transfer fee where instantly he became one of the best left-backs contributing to six assists in his first season. The following season, he continued his growth and also helped his team reach the semifinals of the MLS is Back Tournament. That season Union ended up with the best record and were awarded the Supporters’ Shield. Wagner in the following years was selected to MLS All-Star Teams in 2021 and 2022.
HIS EXPLOITS IN MLS
No sooner did he arrive in America he took no time to displace the homegrown Matt Real for the starting job and became one of the names in team sheets.
His ability to beat players with speed and strength and a good final ball has caused whenever he plays against opposite teams. Due to his attacking nature, opposing wide players are pinned back which limits their influence in the final thirds of the pitch. In Philadelphia, his coach prefers to play with a 4-4-2 formation which lacks traditional wingers. Thus this causes a lack of threat from wide players and the burden to create this threat is now down to the full-backs.
SHOULD LEEDS PURSUE HIM?
Definitely YES! Leeds are in need of a good and natural left-back till the time Junior comes back. Marsch knows the MLS market very well as he was the coach of the New York Red Bulls, the sister club of RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg. Also, the fee mooted around is just £2.5m and the 49ers will welcome more business from America.
If all goes well he could leapfrog Firpo as the club’s starting left-back and if not there will be plenty of Bundesliga teams who will try to take a chance on this German player in the future and Leeds could earn a bit of profit considering the fee they are paying now.