Leeds United snapped up Jean-Kevin Augustin on Monday, surprising the footballing world that a club in the second tier of English football could attract a player of his calibre and potential, but the move was confirmed and Leeds now have their man… but all was not as smooth as first though according to Phil Hay of The Athletic.
The first reports of interest were circulating on Saturday evening, but as is standard of Leeds’ stature, they were taken with a pinch of salt initially, until French media outlet L’Equipe moved to state that the deal was already ‘done’ between the Championship side and RB Leipzig sparked a Twitter meltdown as fans searched high and low for confirmation.
As is customary now with Leeds United, the fans will only believe what local reporters say on transfers, names Phil Hay of The Athletic, due to his excellent track-record and healthy, long-standing relationship with the club, so this news was not to be believed until the Scottish reporter said so.
Fast-forward to Monday morning and the confirmation came, with Leeds moving swiftly in securing and announcing the deal, a loan until the end of the season with a commitment to purchase should they gain promotion… cue rapture as the fans reacted to the news.
But following the confirmation news broke, from David Ornstein of The Athletic, that evening that arch rivals Manchester United attempted to thwart the deal last minute, but failed as the player preferred the idea of moving to West Yorkshire.
Man Utd made late enquiry for Augustin but Leeds move too advanced/impressive. That + Fernandes, Cavani, Piatek, Sancho, Giroud, Bergwijn, Eriksen, Rose, Mari, Matviyenko, Vieira, Chelsea, Newcastle & more with @markchapman @liam_twomey for @TheAthleticUK: https://t.co/AXiyHbIKoN
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) January 28, 2020
Even further in the story, Phil Hay reported yesterday that former Whites defender Sol Bamba, who shares the same agent as Augustin, played his part in the French striker choosing to go to Leeds United.
Sol Bamba spoke with Jean-Kevin Augustin on Sunday as Leeds United and Manchester United circled around him. What advice did Bamba give him?
“I told him everything he needed to know.”
And on Monday, Augustin signed for Leeds:https://t.co/yzk9vXwLDv
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) January 29, 2020
In a brilliant piece in The Athletic, Hay speaks with Bamba, currently at Cardiff City, regarding the transfer and what happened behind closed doors, here are some juicy snippets from the full interview which can be found here...
He spoke of Manchester United’s rumoured interest…
“My agent said Manchester United were phoning, trying to get something done, but his [Augustin’s] mind was made up”
“There’d been some talk about Crystal Palace too but on Sunday, what was coming from Manchester United was serious. They wanted him and I wondered what might happen but my agent just said, ‘He’s going to Leeds.’ They weren’t interested. There weren’t any second thoughts.”
When asked on Augustin’s persona, Bamba replied…
“He’s a quiet guy and he likes to get to know people before he opens up, but his English is decent and they’ll like him at Leeds. They’ll like his confidence and they’ll like what he does on the pitch”
On whether Bamba sold the Leeds dream to Augustin, the centre back said…
“I told him everything he needed to know”
And finally, when asked if Augustin would struggle under the considerable pressure at Elland Road…
“I know this boy and he should thrive at Leeds, he’s got the shoulders for it, don’t worry about that.”
All huge pluses for Leeds United and their fans, but the proof is in the pudding.
Will Augustin be the man Leeds United need to fire them to glory?