Leeds United

Leeds United


Leeds Utd chasing creative force who could oust struggler Marsch can’t rely on

Kai Wagner (27) of Philiadelphia Union takes a shot on goal during a match against the Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL, USA

Leeds United are reportedly in the market for left-backs this winter and have Philadelphia Union’s Kai Wagner back on their radar. 

Wagner has been linked with a move to Elland Road since last summer, but now the issue is more pressing after Junior Firpo has continued to struggle in the Premier League.

The German has been in fine form in the US this season, leading to interest from several European clubs. Leeds, however, remain the big favourites to pen a deal this winter.

Leeds signed Firpo for a sizeable £12.8m fee from Barcelona last summer, but he has failed to acclimatise to the English top flight.

So far, the Dominican defender has managed just two league appearances for the Whites this season and Pascal Struijk – who is more of a centre-back by trade – has been deputising as a left-back instead.

It seems Marsch is keen on bringing in another left-back as cover for the struggling Firpo, so a January transfer for Wagner is not out of the question.

A dynamic. solid defender with the ability to create chances in attack, too, the 25-year-old has enjoyed his spell in the MLS since joining Philadelphia Union in 2019.

In 128 appearances across all competitions, Wagner has scored four goals and made 21 assists. He was also a key player as Union achieved an impressive second place finish in the 2021 campaign.

This past season, Wagner has been in excellent form once again, providing eight assists in 33 MLS outings.

Moving from the MLS to the Premier League would undoubtedly be a big step up, but it seems Wagner is keen to take on the challenge.

That is according to The Athletic, who claim Wagner is on a Leeds Utd list of potential left-back options for January.

Leeds in the market for left-back reinforcements

TEAMtalk reported this week that Leeds are considering a move for Valencia youngster Jesus Vazquez, but Wagner would represent a more experienced option.

In fact, in November, we noted five potential additions the Whites could make to cover -or replace – Firpo.

The shortlist included Borussia Dortmund’s Raphael Guerreiro, Genk’s Gerrardo Artega, Stoke player Josh Tymon, Empoli wing-back Fabiano Parisi and indeed, Philadelphia Union’s Wagner.

While there’s no doubt that Marsch is looking for full-back reinforcements, it’s worth noting the American hasn’t written off Firpo just yet.

Speaking in a press conference in November, he said: “I’ve heard criticisms of Junior in the past.

“I can only tell you since I’ve been here, he has, in every way, tried to adapt and learn and grow into the player I believe he can be.

“His technical and passing ability is one of the best on our team, his athleticism is definitely on the high end of our team, his intelligence is very high and then his tactical awareness is also very keen.

“If he can continue to add the right kind of aggressiveness, he can grow into a real defender and be a real two-way player.

“At left-back, there are not a lot of those types of players out there in the world right now. So, specifically with Junior, I’m trying to develop him into the player I believe he can become and I believe he can be a big player here no doubt.

“He has everything he needs and his commitment to try to do that is at a really high level.

“Even at a moment when Pascal has been playing so well, it’s not been easy for him to accept being on the bench.”

However, whilst the 26-year-old gets used to the Premier League, Leeds are still in need of an effective left-back who can go straight into the starting 11.

As a result, it looks likely the Whites will be bringing in at least one new defensive option this winter, with Wagner at the top of Marsch’s shortlist.

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