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Leeds United transfer news: Left-back target certain to move as source delivers hope for Jesse Marsch

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 have been given encouragement in their pursuit for Kai Wagner with his club, Philadelphia Union, making a decision over his potential sale in January.

The Whites made a total of nine signings this summer, strenghtening their first team with several astute additions. Five of those have already become regulars, with Luis Sinisterra, Marc Roca, Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson making names for themselves. Meanwhile, young stars Wilfried Gnonto and Sonny Perkins continue to make names for themselves on the international scene.

Here, we have ranked all nine of Leeds United’s summer signings.

One area, however, that the club did not address was at left-back. The Whites spent £13.1m in bringing in Junior Firpo from Barcelona in summer 2021, though he endured a tricky first season in the Premier League.

But with Stuart Dallas – who often covers at left-back – suffering a serious kee injury towards the back end of last season, Leeds find themselves light on numbers. Furthermore, the sale of Leif Davies to Ipswich further reduced Jesse Marsch’s options.

And when Firpo suffered an injury in their first pre-season outing of the summer, Leeds were left in a bit of a spot.

That situation has forced the club to utilise Pascal Struijk as emergency cover. And while the centre-half has performed extremely well there, he does lack the mobility required from a modern-day full-back.

One name who is reportedly on their radar is Wagner. The German has a growing in MLS, where he has four goals and 18 assists over the last three seasons.

To that end, the Whites were mentioned as potential summer suitors for the 25-year-old. And their claims were further strengthened by Jesse Marsch’s close friendship to Wagner’s coach at Union.

However, despite the interest, Leeds decided against making a firm approach for Wagner.

Union ready to sell Leeds target Kai Wagner

However, Union are well aware that every player has their price and, amid growing interest in Wagner, they are preparing for his January exit.

With Leeds reportedly still very much on his trail, respected journalist Tom Bogert claims interest in the left-back is growing.

Furthermore, he claims Union are preparing to cash in on their prized asset.

He tweeted: “Sources: Expectation is that Philadelphia Union star LB Kai Wagner will “absolutely” be sold to Europe this winter. Leeds United far from the only club interested, will be difficult for them now rather than the summer.”

Speaking last month, Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin also indicated his sale was likely.

“We’ll see what happens – we’re prepared either way,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“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.”

Dinamo Zagreb and Benfica are also among those reportedly also looking at Wagner.

Leeds do need a left-back

If there’s one obvious area of weakness in Leeds’ squad, it’s at left-back. Firpo has not done enough since arriving at Elland Road and, with Struijk playing out of position there as cover, the former Barcelona man has not been missed.

But it’s a clear area the squad needs improvements in. Supporters point to the attacking positions and where the goals come from in the absence of Patrick Bamford.

But Leeds feel in Rodrigo, Gnonto, Perkins and Joe Gelhardt, they have options aplenty there.

It’s a different story though at left-back and a position the club must absolutely try to improve in.

Whether Wagner is the answer remains to be seen. His record in MLS is exemplorary. But the step up to the Premier League is a massive leap and you do fear that it may be too big a step for him.

That said, Orta does like a bargain and if the price is right, you could see this deal going through.

Leeds have a huge following in America thanks to Marsch, Aarsonon and Adams. Even Jack Harrison has links to the MLS too. And the signing of Wagner would only strengthen that connection.

Observers of the player certainly feel he is capable. That judgement will ultimately be on Marsch and Orta as they decide whether to make a firm bid.

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