With the first few dominoes falling in the offseason for the Union, and the transfer window opening in other parts of the world, could Philly have more players leave their ranks? Anthony Fontana is all but an Ascoli Calcio (A Serie B team in Italy) player. Could his move be the first of many; are the Union in danger of losing important players in this transfer window?
In danger of losing important players
In this shortened offseason, the Union will have to work fast to get ready for the 2022 season. This means possibly replacing some key pieces that have been with the club over their successful few seasons. In the last week, there have been reports of two important Union players either wanting to leave or other teams pining over their services. Let’s take a look at who the Union could be in danger of losing in the worldwide transfer window that’s now open.
Kai Wagner wants to leave
Just two days ago Kai Wagner, the Union’s MLS all-star left back, was at German club Schalke. Wagner posted a picture to his Instagram story about being at Schalke’s training ground, and it got Union fans in a tizzy. Even Union insider Jonathan Tannewald took to Twitter to speculate about it. Luckily his colleague Manuel Veth shed some light on the situation.
Wagner was at Schalke to use their medical facilities while he was in Germany. While this could be seen as a relief for Union fans, the left back has stated his intent to move this window to a European team. Luckily for the Union, a team like Schalke didn’t have the resources needed to sign Wagner, but other clubs might. His value is listed at $3.30 million; will a European team be able to pay that or possibly more to transfer the player?
Interest for Findlay
Onto another rumor! Union backup centerback Stuart Findlay is reportedly wanted by a number of League 1 and Championship teams in England. The Scottish centerback was a bit frustrated at his lack of playing time in Philadelphia in his first season. Will one of these teams pull the trigger and buy him to give Findlay constant starting minutes?
Findlay stated in an interview that he doesn’t have plans to move on from Philly. His intent is to come in for 2022 and push for a starting spot. He did add that if his agent came to him with an offer that was best for him, that he would listen to it, but at the time of the interview, Findlay was focused on returning to the Union. Philly needs to keep a player like Findlay, even if he isn’t a starter in 2022. The Union will need a quality centerback like Findlay in their ranks. If he leaves, Philly will only have two rostered center backs heading into the 2022 season…
El Brujo impressed many at the Copa América and in MLS play
Jose “El Brujo” Martinez has been a player on the rise since he came to the Philadelphia Union in 2020. While there have been no rumors about a transfer for El Brujo, his stock has definitely risen as a result of his dominant play in MLS as well as his good run of form in this past summer’s Copa America. Could this bolster his value of $1.65 million if a club from Europe came knocking?
I’d say that a number six like El Brujo would be on the radar of teams in places like Spain, Germany, and England calling for his services. This is the next step in his progression, and the Union has coverage at that position with Flach and Bueno. The time is now to sell with that value likely jacked up from his good play last season. While Philly would be losing an important player, they would get a good chunk of change and help the player progress in his career. It’s the Union way, and we’ll see if this is something that happens this January.
Mbaizo and Monteiro could ball out at AFCON
Speaking of players balling out in the 2021 season and playing well at an international tournament, both Oliver Mbaizo (Cameroon) and Jamiro Monteiro (Cape Verde) will play for their nations at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which kicks off this Sunday! Both of these players have been staples for Philly, and have been starters for their national teams in World Cup qualifying. Now that there will be many eyes on a big tournament like AFCON, could a bigger club come and poach one of these two players?
Jamiro is valued at $3.30 million, and Oliver is valued at $1.65 million. Add in good play at an international tournament and those values could go way up. If a big team from Europe came calling for one of these two players after AFCON, you know Tanner would be asking for more money than they’re valued for. These two are penciled in starters for the 2022 season, but if either were lost there would be a homegrown who could step into the role without much of a dropoff. Could one or both of these players move?
Trust the Process
While the potential loss of Wagner, Findlay, Martinez, Mbaizo, and Monteiro all in one transfer window would take away four starters from the 2021 season, it is also what happens when success comes. I feel it is unlikely that all five players on this list move, but wouldn’t be surprised if one-to-three do get sold. If that happens, there needs to be ultimate trust put in Tanner.
There are only eight weeks until the 2022 season kicks off. If some or all of these important players do move, then it will be up to younger players to break through under the watch of Curtin, and for other replacements to be found by Tanner. These two at the helm of the Union helped the club get a first playoff win in 2019, a first trophy win in 2020, and a first deep MLS Cup playoff run in 2021. Union fans need to trust the process, and wait to see what happens in this newly opened transfer window.
Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union and other soccer content!
Follow our Union team on Twitter:
Doop on Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH