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Leeds could ditch Junior Firpo by signing Kai Wagner in January

Leeds United have endured a rough start to the 2022/23 campaign and are currently sitting 18th in the Premier League table after 11 matches.

Jesse Marsch’s side are on a horrific run of form as they have only picked up two points from their last eight games in the division, including four losses in a row as it stands.

Victor Orta may now be thinking about what he could do in the January transfer window in order to improve the squad enough to avoid dropping down to the Championship next season.

One area in which he could attempt to bolster is left-back. Pascal Struijk has been forced to play out-of-position there at times this season and January will be an opportunity to bring in a natural in that role.

Junior Firpo recently returned to fitness and has played twice in the Premier League this season, but his form since arriving at Elland Road has been far from good enough.

Last season, he averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.60 across 24 appearances in the English top-flight – placing him 23rd in the squad – and created 0.9 chances per game.

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Earlier this term, TEAMtalk editor James Marshment claimed that the full-back looked “uncomfortable” and the dud’s statistics – averaging a SofaScore rating of 6.30 in his two outings in 2022/23 – since the start of last season suggest that has always been the case.

The Whites were reportedly interested in signing Kai Wagner from Philadelphia Union in the summer transfer window and they must now revisit their interest at the start of 2023.

MLS insider Tom Bogert revealed last month that the left-back is poised to seal a transfer to Europe in January, tweeting:

“Sources: Expectation is that Philadelphia Union star LB Kai Wagner will ‘absolutely’ be sold to Europe this winter. Leeds United far from the only club interested, will be difficult for them now rather than the summer. Wagner, 25, has 15 assists + is part of best defense in MLS.”

Should Leeds sign Wagner?

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This suggests that Leeds have a real chance of being able to sign the 25-year-old defender if they go back in for him in the next transfer window.

The gem was previously lauded as “very unique” by Union boss Jim Curtin and his statistics in the MLS are eye-catching. He has averaged a phenomenal SofaScore rating of 7.49 across 34 appearances in 2022, creating 2.7 chances per game and registering eight assists in total, whilst completing 3.0 tackles and interceptions per match.

These statistics suggest that Wagner, who is one year younger than Firpo, could be a major upgrade on the former Barcelona man in terms of both chance creation and general standard of performance – as long as he can adapt to English football.

Signing the German left-back would provide Marsch with a natural option in that position, which would allow Struijk to move back into the middle of the defence and open up the door for Firpo – who has not been good enough in the Premier League – to be moved on by Orta.

Article title: Leeds could ditch Junior Firpo by signing Kai Wagner in January

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