The Philadelphia Union has reportedly signed left back Kai Wagner to a new contract, per Tom Bogert of The Athletic and Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Wagner’s contract with the club had previously expired at the end of the 2023 season.
Wagner’s return to the club was often in doubt. Toward the end of the 2023 season, Wagner expressed frustration that talks with the club had fallen through and fans’ frustration with the club grew as time passed. Head coach Jim Curtin himself said he wished Wagner could return. However, after Wagner was suspended from MLS play for directing a racial slur toward New England Revolution forward Bobby Wood, fan interest in signing Wagner dipped.
Still, the Union pushed to bring Wagner back to the club. After interest from Red Star Belgrade and AEK Athens and two months after the Union’s season ended in the MLS Cup Playoffs, Wagner is set to return.
Wagner first joined the club in 2019 and quickly established himself as one of MLS’ best defenders. He was in the running for Defender of the Year in 2022, but fell short behind the Union’s Jakob Glesnes. Since 2019, Wagner’s made 138 appearances for the Union with 136 starts. He’s notched five goals, 39 assists, and earned a combined 30 cautions and ejections.