Kai Wagner has agreed to a new, long-term contract with MLS team Philadelphia Union, putting a stop to transfer rumors that had him joining the Rangers in January.
The German-born left-back was mentioned as one of several potential defensive targets that the Ibrox club’s scouting department identified in the midst of the uncertainty surrounding Borna Barisic’s future, as he enters the final six months of his contract, and Ridvan Yilmaz’s mounting interest from Italian and Turkish clubs.
Gers boss Philippe Clement is eager to put his own stamp on the squad he inherited from Michael Beale following his dismissal earlier this season and the left-back position remains a priority for the Belgian to address in January.
But 26-year-old Wagner will NOT be heading across the water to Glasgow after putting pen to paper on a new deal until 2026 with the option to extend his stay in America by a further year.
He confessed to having “exciting options” in Europe but declared his heart was set on staying at Philadelphia after spending nearly five years with the club to date. Wagner, who has made 138 appearances since joining the club in 2019, also sits second in Union’s all-time assists chart with 39 – 12 more than any other defender in the league – and will have his sights fixed on smashing that record.
Speaking to the club’s official website, the defender admitted: “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. The MLS is an exciting league, and you can see that the development runs in the right direction, also with a view to the 2026 FIFA World Cup. I’m also looking forward to continuing to be a part of the league in a great club and, as always, will give my very best for the team so that we can celebrate success together.
“The discussions with the people in charge here were and are characterized by a high level of mutual appreciation. In today’s fast-moving world, my long time spent here has been something special. Now our relationship will continue which makes me very happy. For me, there are definitely more good reasons to stay here than to leave. That is why I said yet again to my club with full conviction.”
Philadelphia sporting director, Ernst Tanner commented: “Kai has proven himself year after year as one of the best left backs in the league, and an integral part of our team success. With his consistent defending and aggressive attacking style of play, he has greatly contributed to the new milestones the team has achieved every year, and we have full confidence his continued dedication and passion for this club will continue help us reach new heights. We’re looking forward to having Kai in Philadelphia for years to come.”