Leeds United have a new left-back in their sights in the form of Kai Wagner – with a report claiming how Brenden Aaronson could help the Whites gain an advantage over two rival suitors for the German star.
The Whites have been active in their summer recruitment drive, bringing eight new players into their squad. And four of those – Brenden Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen, Tyler Adams and Marc Roca – all played their part in their opening-day win against Wolves. However, it seems Leeds remain active in the transfer market as the window enters its final three weeks.
To that end, Leeds are reportedly still keeping an open mind over possible additions to their attack and defence. Reports in France claim a deal for Ismaila Sarr is gathering pace, with Thursday’s Transfer Gossip further strengthening those claims.
However, Leeds guru, Phil Hay of The Athletic has distanced Leeds from claims to say a deal for Sarr is in the pipeline.
All the same, Leeds do have obvious issues at left-back to solve. They went into that curtain-raiser against Wolves without a left-back in their ranks. That’s after first-choice option Junior Firpo suffered an injury in Leeds’ opening pre-season match of the summer.
And with the versatile Stuart Dallas also sidelined with a long-term knee injury, Leeds tasked centre-half Pascal Struijk to cover there; a role he performed admirably.
But Struijk lacks the obvious pace and mobility needed for a modern-day left-back. As such, it’s little surprise to see Leeds reportedly in the market for a potential specialist.
PSV’s Philipp Max has been linked as an option, though he will not come as cheap as initially reported.
As an alternative, Leeds are reportedly considering a move for Philadelphia Union star Wagner.
Leeds face competition for Kai Wagner
The links to Wagner have been revealed by Forbes journalist Manuel Veth. Writing on his personal Twitter account, he claims Leeds are exploring the possibility of a deal for the 25-year-old German.
However, the Whites are not alone in their pursuit of the Philadelphia Union player. And according to Veth, Leeds United face competition from Dinamo Zagreb and Benfica for the full-back.
That said, it seems Leeds do hold two key advantages were they to pursue a deal. That’s due to the friendship Leeds boss Marsch has with Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin.
Curtin admits he is braced for interest in Wagner, given his exceptional form for Philadelphia.
Speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer last month, Curtin stated: “We’ll see what happens – we’re prepared either way.
“If he does go, Matt Real has been excellent for us as well in training every day, has gotten some Union II minutes, and you obviously have Anton behind Matt.
“If the money’s right, I think [Union’s sporting director] Ernst [Tanner] would obviously entertain it.”
Furthermore, Leeds have another advantage in that Wagner has also played alongside Leeds star Aaronson at the club. Aaronson clocked up 57 appearances for Union before sealing a move to RB Salzburg in 2021. And his brother Paxten Aaronson still plays for the MLS side.
German boasts impressive statistics
Former Schalke left-back Wagner has been in stunning form in MLS. He has recently been named in the All-Stars side for their upcoming clash against Liga MX All-Stars.
That comes after the player assisted five goals in 24 appearances for Union this season. Indeed, he has featured in every minute of Union games, with the club suffering just three defeats all season.
Altogether, he has 89 appearances for the MLS side over the last three seasons.
How will Leeds fare in the Premier League this season without Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips?
How will Leeds cope without Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips in the upcoming campaign?
And were Leeds to make a move, he would surely be tempted to move to the Premier League.
Leeds boast a strong USA connection these days thanks to Marsch, Aaronson and Adams. And the fact that 44% of the club is owned by 49ers Enterprises, means everything they do is big news in the States.