The Union announced Friday that they’ve signed Kai Wagner, one of the best left backs in MLS, to a contract extension.

Wagner joined the Union in early 2019 on a two-year deal with a team option for 2021, which was picked up in December. His new deal runs through 2022, with a team option for 2023. But don’t assume he’ll be here for the duration.

In November, the 23-year-old told Kicker magazine in his native Germany that he was ready to move back to Europe. He reportedly had talks with clubs in England and Germany, including the Premier League’s West Ham United.

But at least for now, Wagner is staying here.

“Kai has been one of the best left backs in our league since he arrived in Philadelphia,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a statement. “We ask our defenders to dominate an entire flank by themselves, and he continually shows he is up to the challenge. We are delighted to have come to a longer-term agreement with Kai.”

Wagner is home in Germany with his family, enjoying a few last weeks of downtime before the Union’s preseason starts. Exactly when that will be still isn’t known yet because of ongoing labor negotiations between Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Association. Nor do we know when the season will start, as the league and players try to balance spreading out the campaign with waiting until the COVID-19 vaccine is widespread enough to have fans at games.

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