Ben Jacobs has dropped an update on reported Leeds United transfer target Kai Wagner.
In a recent post on Twitter, the CBS Sports journalist revealed that Victor Orta is now in talks with Philadelphia Union regarding a deal for the left-back, with Jesse Marsch believed to be pushing the Whites’ interest in the 25-year-old German – while Portuguese side Benfica are also said to keeping an eye on the defender ahead of a potential move $3m (£2.5m) of their own.
In his tweet, Jacobs said: “Leeds expect a busy week in the transfer market. Talks ongoing for Philadelphia Union left-back Kai Wagner. 25-year-old is very creative and technical. Jesse Marsch driving this one. Benfica pushing, too.”
Considering just how short Marsch currently is of depth at left-back, with both Stuart Dallas and Junior Firpo ruled out due to injury, in addition to the club having sold Leif Davis to Ipswich Town earlier this summer, it is clear to see that the left of the American’s backline is very much his biggest issue at Leeds.
Indeed, even with Firpo available, the position is far from the Whites’ strongest in terms of quality and depth, as the 25-year-old struggled with the pace of the English top flight following his £12.8m arrival last summer – averaging a disappointing SofaScore match rating of just 6.60 over his 24 fixtures, ranking him as Leeds’ seventh-worst performer in the league last time out.
In contrast, Wagner has consistently been one of Philadelphia’s best performers in the MLS since his 2019 switch from Wurzburger Kickers, being named as the MLS All-Star left-back for the past two seasons and playing a key role in Union winning the Supporters’ Shield back in 2020.
The £2.7m-rated talent has been in particularly fine form over his 25 MLS appearances so far this season, helping his side keep 10 clean sheets, as well as making an average of 1.8 interceptions, 1.3 tackles, 2.0 clearances and winning 3.6 duels – at a success rate of 56% – per game.
The 25-year-old who MLS insider Tom Bogert dubbed “elite” has also impressed in an attacking and creative capacity, registering five assists and creating seven big chances for his teammates, in addition to making an average of 2.6 key passes – the ninth-most in the league – 4.1 long balls – the joint 21st-most in the division – and 2.9 crosses per fixture.
These returns have seen the former FC Augsburg starlet average a quite extraordinary SofaScore match rating of 7.42, ranking him as the 10th-best performer in the entirety of the MLS so far this term.
As such, with it being evident that Wagner is solid at the back, creative going forwards and possesses an eye for a killer pass, should Marsch believe the German could replicate his form in America in the Premier League, the defender’s £2.5m signing would not only solve the Whites’ biggest issue at present, but he could also prove to be one of the bargains of the summer window.