Welcome to the third part of an ongoing series I have where I try to predict who Union will be looking at to replace players in key positions. So far we’ve taken a look in Argentina and Brazil, but now we take a huge leap across the pond and head up to Scandinavia, a place Union has raided in recent times.
Union Transfer Targets – Argentinian Left Backs
David Moller Wolfe – 20 – Brann
We’re starting off big with a young talent I’ve been watching for a few years now and I love what I’ve seen from him so far. It’ll be a tough deal to pull off, not necessarily the fee but the fact that Brann sees him as a huge part of their future, but I’d imagine they and David can be swayed by the fact he’d be in a bigger league, etc.
David can play both as a left-back and a left winger, something that would help Philly switch into a back 3/5 system whenever they wanted. Going forward, David is very impressive, his passing range is so good for a left back and really helps transcend his team’s offensive output. He’s good with the ball at his feet and his crossing is very good too.
Defensively, David is a very competent defender whose tackling and positioning really stand out when watching him. His defensive IQ is very high and he’ll always make the right decision when it comes to either going into a tackle or jockeying off and covering an overlapping run. David is right up there for me as the perfect replacement for Kai, I just hope Philly and Tanner feel the same.
Brice Wembangomo – 26 – Bodo/Glimt
Okay, I might be a little biased when it comes to Brice. I love Bodo/Glimt and Brice was one of my heroes of an old FM save I had going with them, but I promise him being on this list has nothing to do with FM as I’ve watched him a lot over the past few years, even before he played for Bodo/Glimt.
Brice is completely different from anyone I’ve looked at so far, he’s an extremely explosive athlete with just ridiculous pace, strength, and stamina because he never stops running and working hard. The Norwegian left-back can also play right-back, so he’s a versatile cover option if Philly ends up with injury issues at RB, and he’s also the oldest player I’ll be looking at.
Brice loves getting forward and trying to help out offensively. His dribbling is really good but his passing and crossing aren’t the best and that can harm his output offensively. Brice makes up for his issues going forward with how good a defender he is. Strong, physical defender, who has the pace to cover anyone and is a very, very good tackler.
Brice would be a different fit in Philly to what they currently have but Tanner and Curtin have both spoken about changing formations and style of play and Brice offers a change in that for them.
Kristoffer Lund – 20 – Hacken
We now take a quick trip to Sweden and specifically Hacken as we take a look at their young left-back Kristoffer Lund. Lund’s a great athlete who has a lot of potential ahead of him, but he is still a work in progress compared to a lot of the other guys I’ve listed.
Lund’s been impressive for Hacken so far, he’s a very good defender who will only get better with time and senior appearances. Going forward Lund is a very skilled passer and crosser of the ball but outside of those attributes, he needs work. I think he can become a much better attacking left-back, especially with the ball at his feet but there’s certainly enough of a player there for Philly to be keeping a close eye on him for the future.
If Tanner and Co decided to go with Lund, I’d imagine he’d be the backup/UII LB, while they had Matt Real fill in for Wagner, if Wagner was to leave in this window. Lund would definitely be more of a project than most others, but that means he’ll be a much cheaper option and one that Philly usually targets for their transfers.
Blas Riveros – 24 – Brondby
I’d say the previous dip Philly did in Brondby worked out pretty well, so why not go and get a 2nd with their left-back Blas Riveros?
Riveros is my favorite on this list. A very good left-back, Blas is a great athlete who loves to get forward and is very good at making his team’s offense better. Great crosser and dribbler, Blas can play both left-back and left wing-back, allowing the Union to switch tactics comfortably.
Defensively, Blas is a very good tackler and a hard worker who will always try his best. He could improve his positioning and his concentration levels can fall occasionally, but overall Blas is a very good player who would definitely be a good replacement for Kai Wagner. He’s a previous two-time Swiss Super League and Swiss Cup winner, and he also has 11 caps for Paraguay.
Eric Kahl – 21 – Aarhus GF
Next up on the list is Eric Kahl, a former youth prospect of AIK in Sweden before joining his current club in July 2021. Eric is an extremely impressive young player who’s shown some real talent in his 40+ senior games already.
There’s not much wrong with Eric’s game already, which is a pretty insane thing to say about a 21-year-old player in the Danish league, but it’s true most of the things he’ll need to improve on will just come with more game time and experience.
He’s a great athlete with good pace and strength, his passing and creativity are very good, capable of playing as a standard left-back or a left wing-back, constantly gets forward, and has great tackling, positioning, and decision-making.
The main issue with a move for Kahl would be the price tag attached to him. He moved to Aarhus back in July 2021 for a reported £1.3 million and I’d imagine his price will be higher than that right now.
Martin Frese – 24 – Nordsjaelland
Finally, we end our trip to Scandinavia with a look at Nordsjaelland’s Martin Frese. Frese is arguably the best player on this list, at this moment in time. Others on the list have the potential to be better but Frese is a much more established player and one that would fit well in Philly.
Frese is a very talented player, both technically and defensively. There isn’t anything drastically wrong with the way he plays, outside of not being the most athletic of players, but even then, he has a good amount of pace and strength.
Frese is brilliant with the ball at his feet, gets forward whenever he can, loves to make back post runs into the opposition box for crosses, is really good creatively, and is easily the best defender I’ve spoken about so far.
If Union wants an already established, yet still only 24 years old left back who will easily fill the void left behind by Kai to the best that anyone can, then Martin Frese is the man for Philly
Next time out, and for a final time when it comes to left-backs, we take an extended look at what the rest of Europe has to offer.
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union, Andrew Zwarych