TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Report
All the transfer talk in Philadelphia has revolved around Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie in recent months, but there's another player that's also attracting international interest with offers already coming through.
Kristian Dyer reports that English Premier League clubs are "starting to show serious interest" in Union left back Kai Wagner along with a couple of Bundesliga clubs. Dyer specifically named English sides West Ham and Fulham.
Wagner has turned into quite the find by Union sporting director Ernst Tanner, who signed the left back for what MLSsoccer.com's Tom Bogert calls a "nominal transfer fee" from third-tier German side Wurzburger Kickers. He also previously played in the FC Augsburg academy and for the reserve team of Bundesliga side Schalke 04.
When asked about the reported interest in Wagner in his Tuesday media availability, the Supporters' Shield-winning coach affirmed the longstanding interest in his starting left back.
“Kai had interest last year as well so he's that talented at a position to be quite frank that there's not a lot of good ones in the world,” Curtin said. “They're really hard to find, good left footed players, especially left footed defenders are very unique. There's a premium for them. When scouts see good ones they jump quickly at them so it's not surprising to me to hear that Kai has drawn a lot of interest in Europe. …
“But again, His focus is here. It's great to have interest. But he also wants to lift an MLS Cup here with the Philadelphia. Again the praise is is good. The rumors are are real. I know there's interest for sure. But at this time he's still a Philadelphia Union player and a great left back that I love working with each and every day and is a big reason why we gave up the least amount of goals in MLS this season.”
The 23-year-old Wagner has proven a consistent performer in MLS, starting all 44 matches in which he has appeared. He covers the entirety of the left flank and is as effective in attack as he is in his defending. In fact, the German's eight assists last year were the most for any MLS defender and in 2020 he scored his first goal in the league.
The Union transferred Aaronson to Austrian side RB Salzburg for a club-record fee and center back McKenzie has been linked with interest from European clubs, including Scottish side Celtic.
The standout contributions from Wagner, Aaronson, McKenzie and Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake have helped lead Philadelphia to their first-ever silverware, claiming the 2020 MLS Supporters' Shield for the best regular season record in MLS.
Watch: Wagner's 1st MLS goal
GOAL: Kai Wagner, Philadelphia Union - 5th minute