The Philadelphia Union have the left back they wanted. 21-year-old Kai Wagner has joined the Union for an undisclosed transfer fee!
Wagner may not be a superstar, but he’s exactly what the Union are looking for in a left back. He’s young and physical, and can create offense. He’s also not a normal left back, and fills a crucial role on the depth chart. Here’s a first look at Kei Wagner.
Physicality and ability to create offense:
New left back Kai Wagner has arrived, but who is he?
— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) February 6, 2019
Sporting director Ernst Tanner said of Wagner: “We are delighted to complete Kai’s signing as he is an up-and-coming and very physical left fullback with high ability and even further potential.” Ernst is high on this player even though he came from the German third-division. Speaking this morning to reporters Tanner said that the third-division in Germany is similar to physicality to MLS, and that the quality of the league is better than USL.
Tanner thinks this Wagner will fit right in on the Union squad, and that his skill set is one that puts him in a different category of fullback.
Wagner is a wing-back:
Here's the full quote on Ernst Tanner talking tactics and the role of the left back in the Union's new system: pic.twitter.com/R4jFyWO6Nv
— Joe Tansey (@JTansey90) February 6, 2019
Ernst Tanner gave a vital piece of information on how the Union will use Kai Wagner. He is more of a wing-back not an outside back. This implies that Wagner is an offensive minded wing-back. Someone who can create offense. This would mean a player like Ray Gaddis would be considered a outside back. It seems like Tanner is morphing this team into one that favors wing-backs over outside backs. It would certainly make sense, as the Union have liked to push outside backs forward. Differentiating the types of players that can play wing-back or outside back will help the players know their roles in the formation they play on any given day.
Wagner’s place on this team is an interesting one as Tanner explained.
Number two on the depth chart:
As for Kai Wagner, Ernst Tanner says Fabinho is transitioning to a role in the academy, but is still on the playing roster for the time being.
— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) February 6, 2019
Wagner seems to be brought in as left back depth, especially since Fabinho apparently won’t be apart of the Union’s plans moving forward. It seems like Wagner has been brought in to push for the starting spot. Matt Real has been pegged as the starter right now, and Fabinho seems to be shifting into a role at the academy. This leaves the window open for Wagenr to come in and be the second left back on the depth chart and push for first team minutes right away.
“Kai has joined us in Clearwater and we look forward to introducing him to his new teammates and integrating him as quickly as possible.” He is with the team now, and will get his first bit of play action tonight in a scrimmage against USL side Birmingham Legion FC.
The Union have added a piece they have coveted for a while, now it’s time to get that superstar, Marco Fabián!
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union