Philadelphia Union: Will Kai Wagner be the next big departure?

Kai Wagner is reportedly receiving interest from Premier League clubs.

The Philadelphia Union’s successful 2020 regular season campaign saw many of its young players shine. Among those who excelled were Brenden Aaronson, Mark McKenzie, and Kai Wagner. These players’ impressive performances have led to confirmed deals and interest from European clubs. With Aaronson’s move to Red Bull Salzburg set in stone, McKenzie and Wagner are the two Union players whose future with the club may also be coming to a close with moves to Europe.

Wagner has been reported to be receiving interest from West Ham United and Fulham according to Kristian Dyer of Sports Illustrated. Additionally, The Daily Mail has also reported this news. Dyer mentioned that Bundesliga clubs were showing interest as well. The 23-year-old left-back began his career in Germany and had previously played for Schalke’s second team. For this reason, it’s no surprise to see that a return to his home country may be in the cards.

One of the MLS’ top left backs

The progression of Wagner during his Major League Soccer career has been very impressive. He arrived in Philadelphia from Würzburger Kickers in the German third division in 2019 and was an integral part of the starting lineup in his first season in the league.

Wagner finished with eight assists in 30 appearances. His eight assists were a league-high for defenders. In 2020, the strong consistent performances have continued for Wagner as he scored one goal and registered two assists in 14 appearances.

Wagner has talent both offensively and defensively. According to Football Reference, he made 89 tackles during the 2019 campaign, 47 of which were in the final defensive third of the pitch. He finished ninth in MLS in tackles, third in blocks, and seventh in crosses into the box. These statistics show he can get the job done while attacking or defending.

Another success for the Union

Although a Wagner departure to Europe would be a major loss for the Union ahead of next season, it is another great example of the recent success the Union has had developing players. Aaronson was the club’s biggest export to date and McKenzie also appears he could join a well-known club in the near future. If Wagner moves to a Premier League club such as West Ham then it only further adds to the success the Union is currently having. They have certainly put themselves on the map in MLS this year when it comes to youth development.