Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin has admitted the reported interest in West Ham United and Fulham target Kai Wagner is “real”, speaking to MLS Soccer.
The team flying high at the top of the Eastern Conference may be victims of their own success.
Union have already lost one of American football’s most exciting young attackers, with Brenden Aaronson enrolling himself in the esteemed Salzburg finishing school, while Celtic’s interest in centre-half Mark McKenzie has also been a topic of discussion across the Atlantic.
And, according to the Daily Mail, West Ham and Fulham are planning January offers for £3.5 million-rated Wagner.
“Kai had interest last year as well. He’s that talented at a position, to be frank, that there’s not a lot of good ones in the world,” says Curtin, named MLS coach of the year on Tuesday.
“(Top-quality left-backs) are really hard to find. There’s a premium for them. When scouts see good ones they jump quickly at them so it’s not surprising to me to hear Kai has drawn a lot of interest in Europe.
“But his focus is here. It’s great to have interest. But he also wants to lift an MLS Cup here with the Philadelphia. Again, the praise is good. The rumours are real. I know there’s interest for sure.
“But at this time he’s still a Philadelphia Union player and a great left-back I love working with every day and is a big reason why we gave up the least amount of goals in MLS this season.”
Curtin may have a point about the lack of top-level left-backs in the game but, strangely enough, that’s one position where West Ham and Fulham are both well stocked.
Fulham signed USA international Antonee Robinson to provide competition for play-off final hero Joe Bryan in the summer while, at in-form West Ham, Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku are producing the best displays of their claret-and-blue careers.