Kai Wagner’s transfer saga continues
It’s no secret that Union left-back Kai Wagner is keen to join a European club this month. USA Today’s Kristian Dyer reported on Monday that Wagner is attracting interest in the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and Super Lig (Turkey’s top league.) Could it be that the Union is on the point of losing one of its most promising starters. of their 2022 season?
The Kai Wagner transfer saga
Wagner has expressed his wish to leave Philadelphia since the end of the 2020 season. After helping the Union win their very first trophy, he was ready to move up to one of Europe’s top leagues. When that didn’t happen, he returned to Philly and continued to play the lights. His form in 2021 was good enough to bring him to the All-Star Game of 2021 and helped the Union make their deepest playoff run in franchise history.
His ability to play good defense and his ability to go forward and cross the ball make him a great player who could contribute to a top European club. With clubs like Premier League Watford and La Liga Espanyol interested in Wagner, it is only a matter of time before any formal offers reach Ernst Tanner’s desk. The question is, can these clubs meet the Union’s asking price for Wagner, and would losing Kai present an even bigger problem for Tanner?
Can these teams respect the Union price?
Ernst Tanner has said it himself, the European market is “dead” at the moment. What he means by that is that the market is not as good for players who come to Europe. The pandemic has hit teams hard, and aside from some of the biggest clubs in the world, paying inbound transfers is more difficult than before. For this reason, could it be that Wagner does not get his European transfer because the Union would demand a comeback which these clubs cannot afford? At present, Transfermrkt has Wagner’s value listed at $ 3.30 million; however, the last update to this review came before the end of the 2021 season.
It’s not impossible that Wagner’s value is in the $ 4 million range. Could it be that Tanner and the Union are looking for between $ 4 million and $ 5 million for the transfer of a key player to Philadelphia? This price may be too high for clubs interested in Wagner, but if someone were to pay that much, the Union would hardly refuse. With just seven weeks to go to the start of the 2022 season and some MLS teams starting the preseason this week, could it be that losing Wagner is too much to overcome?
If Kai leaves, what’s Ernst’s next move?
If that scenario happens and Wagner leaves for Europe, the Union will only have seven weeks to find a replacement for the best left-back in the team’s history. Right now there isn’t much left-back depth for Philly. Matt Real has a good faith offer to return to the Union but has not signed it. Apart from Real, the only other 2021 squad returning outside-backs are Mbaizo and Harriel. Mbaizo will be the starter on the right, but could Harriel switch sides and be the left-back starter? Union II player Sorrenson is rumored to get a first-team contract with the Union, and is he a full-fledged left-back, could this position be his? Would the Union even experiment with Flach at left-back? Has he already played and could play there at a pinch? With limited options, Tanner may need to find a starting caliber replacement to bring in and quickly.
Tanner should always receive all the trust in the world from the fans, whether or not Wagner leaves this month. He’s shown time and time again his ability to assess talent on this list and find players who will compliment it. If he has to do this to find a left-back in a hurry, then he will; if he wants to play a role with which the Union currently has, he will do so.
Whatever happens with this Kai Wagner transfer saga, the Union should always be a top team in the MLS Eastern Conference. Philly will just have to keep doing things its own way, which is a lot with limited resources.
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Mandatory Credit: UNION OF PHILADELPHIA, ANDREW ZWARYCH