February 24, 2024

Rangers manager Philippe Clement has been dealt a major blow in his pursuit of a new left-back after contract news has emerged on Kai Wagner.

Philadelphia Union announced on their website on Thursday (11 January) that the 26-year-old has signed a new three-year contract to remain with the MLS club.

The German defender was believed to be a transfer target for the Gers when his deal expired on 1 January, but the latest development will have now put any hope of bringing him to Ibrox this month to bed.

The Light Blues boss is believed to be looking to strengthen his options on the left-hand side of the defence as Borna Barisic is out of contract in the summer and Ridvan Yilmaz has been linked with a move away this month.

The Belgian has been rotating between the two defenders since he arrived at the club in October, suggesting neither player has impressed him too much.

That is where Wagner could have been a potential option to come in and make the position his own on the back of his impressive performances for Philadelphia.

The German has registered seven goals and 32 assists in his 170 appearances for the American outfit as he became the first outfield Union player to be selected for consecutive All-Star games.

He was, however, suspended last year for violating the MLS’ anti-discrimination policy after being accused of making a racist comment.

His time in the US looked like it could potentially be coming to an end when his deal expired, but it now appears as though he could be sticking around in Philly for another three years.

After signing his new deal, Wagner said: “I’ve been here for almost five years now and continue to grow professionally and personally. I feel highly valued here and have a great bond with the club. My family and I also feel extremely at home here.

“Despite other exciting options in Europe, I decided to extend my contract with the Philadelphia Union because in the end my heart also played a part in my decision.”

Whether or not one of those offers for the left-back was from Rangers is unknown, but there is a very good chance that it was given that he was believed to be high up on Clement’s wishlist this month.

Either way, the Gers manager is now going to have to make a decision on his current fullbacks and whether there are any other options available to him that he wants to bring in.

Interestingly, Football Scotland reported on its website on Friday (12 January) that the Light Blues are looking to offer Barisic a new deal before his contract expires at the end of the season.

 

Clement

It added that a number of clubs, including Leeds United, are interested in signing the Croatian international this month.

With Yilmaz looking like he could also move on following increased interest from Italian side Hellas Verona and a string of clubs in his homeland of Turkey, the Gers could find themselves short at left-back once February comes around.

That means Clement will almost certainly have to bring in a new defender in the January transfer window, but that man definitely won’t be Wagner.

 

 

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