BBC Sport pundit Noel Whelan has suggested Leeds United dodged a bullet by not signing Southampton striker Che Adams during the January window.
The Whites had made several approaches to the south coast side in a bid to acquire Adams during the mid-season market, but saw the Saints relentlessly rebuff our enquiries.
Director of Football Victor Orta had been on the hunt for Marcelo Bielsa’s next attacking option after Arsenal recalled Eddie Nketiah, with Adams one of several players linked with a potential move to Elland Road.
Reports claimed Orta had presented Southampton with a club-record bid for Adams, which would have seen the 23-year-old join on loan for the remainder of the season before we would be obliged to pay £20million to make the move permanent.
Whelan is not convinced that Adams would have been worth a club-record fee based on his performances in the Premier League, having failed to score in any of his 18 top-flight outings since joining Southampton last summer.
“I know from Southampton’s side they don’t want to sell him, even though it’s a better deal than what it’s worth right now, quite honestly,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“They paid £15million for him, he’s done really nothing since he went to Southampton, Leeds are offering to pay £2million upfront for his wages and £20million at the end of the season. To me, that seems a very, very good deal for someone who hasn’t done it in the Premier League.
“But if they [Southampton] can’t get a striker in, then he’s not going anywhere. They have the final word, whether Che Adams wants to leave or not.”
Who would you prefer to have seen Orta sign?
Southampton’s opposition to selling Adams sparked Orta to scout the European scene for a different option, leading to the arrival of RB Leipzig forward Jean-Kevin Augustin on a loan-to-buy deal.
The Frenchman had scored once in 13 appearances for AS Monaco this term before his one-season deal in the Principality was cut short, and will be available for Orta to sign permanently this summer for around £15m.
Unlike Adams, who has played exclusively at centre-forward for Southampton and over his 48 outings in 2018/19 for Birmingham City on route to 22 goals, Augustin is a versatile option, with minutes across his career at striker, left-wing, right-wing and as an attacking midfielder.
Whether we dodged a bullet or not in our failed bids for Adams and eventually acquiring Augustin remains to be seen, given the Saints forward was proven in the second-tier with his efforts last term which led to his move to St. Mary’s.
In other Leeds United news, Bielsa has been urged to lay down the law with a 22-year-old.