Leeds United chiefs are already regretting the club’s decision to sign RB Leipzig forward Jean-Kevin Augustin on loan with an obligation to buy, according to Kicker via Sport Witness.
Marcelo Bielsa required another centre-forward at Elland Road during the January transfer window after Eddie Nketiah returned to Arsenal, leaving the boss with one recognised senior striker in Patrick Bamford.
Augustin was eventually the one signed to fill Nketiah’s void, with the club agreeing to pay a €2million (£1.7m) loan fee while also taking hold of a €21m (£18.2m) obligation to buy clause that will hinge of securing promotion into the Premier League.
So far, that money has not produced anything, with Augustin failing to score in the Championship during either of his three substitute appearances and missing our last three games after sustaining a hamstring strain.
German publication Kicker now claim ‘there is already a lot of fear’ at Elland Road that we wasted our money in January by signing Augustin, and that the hierarchy ‘made a mistake’ with the Frenchman.
Was any part of Augustin's transfer a mistake?
Absolutely, all of it was
The obligation to buy
It was a risk worth taking
The club were forced into replacing two players during the winter market after Tottenham and Arsenal recalled Jack Clare and Nketiah respectively, leaving Bielsa void of players in attack.
Bielsa left the task of finding our new offensive weapons to Director of Football Victor Orta, with the Argentine noting that “it’s not going to be for a lack of effort” that United do not make worthwhile moves.
But Orta’s tireless pursuit of Southampton’s Che Adams and murmurs of interest in Watford’s Andre Gray proved worthless, before the Spaniard would approach Leipzig and request to sign Augustin amid his torrid time on loan with AS Monaco.
Augustin managed to start just two of his 10 Ligue 1 outings from a possible 21 before moving to West Yorkshire, where action has been hard to come by with just 48 minutes of Championship football to his name and no appearances in a matchday squad since February 15 due to a hamstring strain.
Orta turning to Leipzig and signing Augustin on loan with an obligation to buy now seems like a monumental error, and one that could decide who secures promotion into the Premier League.
Bamford brought a seven-game Championship goal drought to an end on Saturday with the second strike in our West Yorkshire Derby win over Huddersfield Town, but another run without finding the net could see results start to slip.
Thankfully, other players were able to step up and score during the 26-year-old’s recent slack run, though those seven fixtures did see United lose twice, draw once and win three games by a margin of one goal – a margin that could easily swing the other way in the final run-in.