By George Overhill

2nd Sep, 2022 | 10:50am

Leeds United in race for January transfer of Philadelphia Union defender Kai Wagner

Leeds United will be in the race to sign Philadelphia Union left-back Kai Wagner in January after talks that ran up to deadline day, according to Manuel Veth.

The German had emerged as a late-window candidate to fill the apparent gap in the squad, with the injured Junior Firpo the only recognised specialist at the position, but the Major League Soccer player is in the middle of his season and his team didn’t want to lose him at that point.

As such no official bid was ever registered to sign him before the Thursday deadline (1 September), but the latest update suggests a move in the winter window is likely to be on the cards, with the Whites firmly in the running.

Writing on his personal Twitter account on Thursday afternoon, Forbes and Transfermarkt journalist Veth said: “Update Kai Wagner to Leeds United. The German is unlikely to leave DOOP today for LUFC.

“Tendency is towards a winter transfer according to a source. Philadelphia Union very reluctant to let their star left-back go in the middle of the season.”

He then added another post that said: “Although DOOP never received an official bid, my understanding is that there has been plenty of talk between all parties all the way leading up to today.

“Will be fascinating to see what happens with Kai Wagner in the winter. LUFC still very much in the race.”

Run up

Fans might take some convincing after the events of deadline day, but it appears the club have positioned themselves well for what is looking increasingly like an inevitable move for the 25-year-old.

Jesse Marsch has previously spoken with his manager Jim Curtin about a deal and the connection should in theory also benefit United when the window reopens.

In the meantime it will be down to Pascal Struijk to continue to deputise and to Firpo to improve on his debut season at Elland Road.

One defeat from the opening five matches of the Premier League campaign is a good start, especially considering the travails of last season, but there have been a few suggestions that the defence can be got at.

Chelsea are on paper the strongest side yet faced and they found it impossible though, while surprise package Brighton only scored once.

Wagner has never played in the top flight in any of the European leagues he has featured in, but is very highly thought of in the US, and if that means something anywhere in England it is at Elland Road, so his future will be one to watch for Whites fans.

In other Leeds United, the club got a late-night green light from the FA for a last-gasp signing at the wire.