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Kai Wagner linked to Leeds United, other clubs as European transfer window nears closure

Once again, rumors surrounding the German left-back are heating up, this time with Jesse Marsch and Leeds United coming as heavy favorites.

Shivant Krishnan

Philadelphia Union left-back Kai Wagner has been linked to Premier League club Leeds United.

Reports of renewed Leeds interest came in Wednesday afternoon when Manuel Veth of Transfermarkt noted that Leeds, among Benfica and Dinamo Zagreb, were interested in siganing the left back.

Veth’s reporting was later confirmed by British publication The Sun, which reported that Wagner’s price tag could be as low as 2.5 million Euros ($2.58 million).

Wagner, 24, has been the subject of transfer rumors for years, which began soon after he made an impact after coming to Philadelphia in 2019. However, no club has ever made a formal offer for the German.

Though the incoming transfer window is closed in MLS, the Premier League window doesn’t close until September 1.

Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin confirmed the rumors of Leeds’ interest on Thursday during a press conference, saying that he had conversations with Leeds manager Jesse Marsch about Wagner. Should he move to Leeds, Wagner would be reunited with former Philadelphia Union homegrown Brenden Aaronson, who moved to the club this summer.

Curtin reiterated that while no official offers have come in, the club would evaluate Wagner’s situation once clubs began to come forward.

“First, official offers have to come in, and Ernst (Tanner) will decide one way or another what is best for the club, myself included, and Kai as well,” Curtin said.

As the Union prepares to make a push for the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup, Curtin would prefer to have Wagner in his lineup throughout.

“I selfishly would love him to stay here and I believe we can push and try to win something here this year,” he said. “Kai loves it here in Philly, he loves the fans, he loves playing in Subaru Park; but he also has aspirations of playing at the highest levels.”

Despite the rumors, Curtin is confident that the left-back will continue to produce as long as he remains in Philadelphia.

“While there’s always noise in and around him, he’s been focused and done a great job for us this season, and I know that will continue,” Curtin said.

Since coming to Philadelphia, Wagner has played in 101 matches, starting 99 of them. In his four seasons, he has recorded four goals and 28 assists, including 11 assists in 2022, currently third-best in MLS.