By George Overhill

26th Sep, 2023 | 8:10pm

Leeds United-linked Kai Wagner wants European free transfer in December with inquiries already made - Gianluca Di Marzio

Kai Wagner’s contract expires at the end of December and he wants to “return to Europe” with his next move after recent interest from clubs including Leeds United, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

The Sky Italia journalist reported via his website on 25 September that the Philadelphia Union left-back has already been subject to “surveys” from France, Germany and England ahead of him coming available in the winter.

The Whites, West Ham and Brentford are all credited with interest in the past year, while Di Marzio suggests Italy could also been a possible destination.

Phil Hay reported in The Athletic on 22 December that the German was a target, with a fee at the time expected to cost in the “low millions”.

Although Max Wober was brought in subsequently he was not the specialist left-back the club appeared to need, and the position again went without major work this summer, but nominal right-back Sam Byram did return on a free transfer and has currently made the position his own, fitness permitting.

Still on?

There has been a huge amount of water under the bridge in the past year at Elland Road so it may be that the club are no longer interested in the 26-year-old Wagner.

New owners, no Victor Orta, four managers further down the line, and the emergence of Byram could feasibly have ended any prospect of him joining.

But if Byram is struck down by injury again after a rough time over the past few seasons, and Junior Firpo suffers the same fate, there could still be a need to bring another man in at the position.

Leeds United may not be a Premier League club any longer, and if there is sustained interest from European top flights it could be a moot point come New Year, but Wagner’s only senior football has been in MLS so far after reserve football in Germany so he may be open to the Championship.

If the club were considering a move for a few million pounds less than a year ago it wouldn’t be much of a surprise for them to at least investigate the same player for free, given continuity from the likes of Angus Kinnear.

A German manager in Daniel Farke could also feasibly increase the interest, and though it is probably a long shot at this stage the door is open.

If Byram proves his fitness on a sustained basis the Whites probably don’t need to address left-back as a priority, but after just 58 league appearances over the previous five seasons combined that is easier said than done.

In other Leeds United news, a senior Elland Road player is set to leave as he is training on his own and has “simply no way” back into the team under Farke says Phil Hay.