Leeds complete signing of Augustin
Monday, 27th Jan 2020 23:46 by Tim Whelan
After the disappointing end to our pursuit of Che Adams and reports that we were in neogtiations over several other targets, Leeds have finally managed to get a deal for a new striker over the line
A statement on the official site said “Leeds United are delighted to announce the signing of Jean-Kevin Augustin. The striker joins the Whites on an initial loan deal until the end of the season from Bundesliga outfit Red Bull Leipzig.” It then went on to give some details of 22 year-old’s career so far.
Augustin came through the ranks with French outfit Paris Saint-Germain and went on to make his senior debut for the club back in April 2015. He was at the club while PSG win every domestic honour, though a lot of that was down to the amount of money being poured into the club from Qatar, and the influx of expensive new talent meant that he had to move on in search of first team football.
In July 2017, he completed a move to Red Bull Leipzig for a reported fee of €13m, and played for the German club in both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, scoring 20 goals in his 67 appearances. He then returned to the French league with Monaco on loan at the start of the season and played 13 times for the club in the Principality.
He has also played for French international youth teams at every level from Under-16s to Under-21s, and helped France win the European Under-19 Championship in 2016, where he was the top goal-scorer and player of the tournament. He joins us on loan until the end of the season, with an option to convert this move into a permanent transfer, and he’s not come cheap. With a loan fee of £2m having been mentioned.
And the man himself was gushing with excitement when the official site asked him why he’d agreed to come to Elland Road. “First of all for the coach and it’s a historical club in England. It has a big objective this season to go back to the Premier league. I know it has been 16 years since they were in the Premier League, so of course the project already excited me”.
“I know it’s a big club in England, there are a lot of fans at every game and they want to go back to the Premier League.” And on Marcelo Bielsa? “Everyone knows him in the football world, he’s a real big tactician. I didn’t have to think long when Leeds wanted me and that he wanted me to come. I’m really happy to be here today.”
So after all the buzz of excitement on all the various Leeds United social media platforms, the key question is whether he’s any good. He scored most of his Leipzig goals in his first season in Germany but fell out of favour in his second, and then started only four games in his spell at Monaco. But if he was banging them in on a regular basis at his other clubs he wouldn’t have become available for us to sign.
Victor Orta has come unstuck a few times by misjudging whether his overseas signings were good enough for the standard of the Championship. And we’ll have to wait until the weekend at least to see how he gets on, because we already know from Bielsa’s press conference today that he won’t feature against Millwall, as he needs a bit of time to get up to speed with Bielsa’s tactics and fitness demands.
And Noel Whelan suggested that Augustin has had a bit of an attitude problem, which has caused a bit of a fallout at a couple of his clubs. Whelan told Football Insider “He seems quite handy – a lot of people raving about him but maybe not hit the heights of what’s expected. He’s got goals, he’s got skill, seems to have a lot of power and pace which would suit what Leeds are looking for, and he can play on the wing as well.
“I think it’s always a bit strange when you’re looking abroad, I think you’re always taking a risk when you bring in a foreign player because you don’t know too much about his attitude, how he’s going to adjust to life in the Championship – but when you’re looking at potential, it’s definitely there. If anyone can get the best out of somebody with that amount of potential it’s Marcelo Bielsa.”
I’m not sure if we need his ability on the wing, as we had plenty of options in the wide positions even before we took Ian Poveda on loan from Man City this week. But we all know we needed another striker in the squad after Eddie’s departure and Bielsa’s continuing reluctance to give Ryan Edmonson a go at senior level. It just remains to be seen whether he will replace Bamford, will take the Eddie role of a few cameo appearances, or whether there’s any chance of playing alongside Bamford as a second striker.
He is of course our third signing of this transfer window after Poveda and Elia Caprile. And French sports paper L’Equipe have suggested we are looking at a fourth player, in the shape of central defender Harold Moukoud of Saint Etienne.
Many of us think that Leeds could do with some backup in that department of the squad, but Bielsa seems to have quashed that rumour at the press conference, by saying that we will stick with just the three signings for this window. So let’s just hope he knows what he’s doing and our relatively small squad won’t get overstretched on the run in once again.
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