June 30th is when football contracts traditionally end, July 1 effectively being the start of a new contract year for football. June 30 is nearly behind us and July 1 is coming up fast tomorrow. Teams with loan players have been trying to negotiate extensions until whenever this season ends. However, Leeds United fans have had one question on their lips – what about Jean Kevin Augustin?
Augustin was Leeds United’s second-choice striker reinforcement during the January transfer window. The Whites had tried to land Southampton’s Che Adams but to no avail. Therefore, the solidly-built Augustin was their man. That loan is to convert to a permanent deal upon Premier League promotion.
There has been some doubt from the likes of The Athletic’s Phil Hay about whether this move will actually go ahead. It is said by some that the value of this deal could cost Leeds United around €25m/£22.5m.
The problem, from a Leeds United perspective, is the seeming fragility of the Frenchman and whether he’s cut out for the rigours of a Bielsa-spurred Leeds United outfit. He only appeared in three games since he arrived at Elland Road.
These three appearances, all from the bench, against Nottingham Forest (19′), Brentford (14′) and Bristol City (15′) and totalled just 48 minutes. That’s when he suffered his first injury, a hamstring twinge. After fighting back to fitness over the lockdown, he suffered another knock.
After Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Luton Town, Bielsa was obviously questioned about Augustin and the situation surrounding him. Here’s how two reporters who were present fed back on Bielsa’s response:
Augustin's loan is up today. My understanding is that it won't be extended. Bielsa didn't want to comment on him and said any announcement on whether Augustin will stay longer term will be made another time. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) June 30, 2020
Bielsa says the decision on Augustin is yet to be taken as to whether he will extend his stay with his loan due to expire today. Asked him if he wants him to & Bielsa says the answer will be communicated in due course. #lufc
— Adam Pope (@apopey) June 30, 2020
Bielsa has remained both diplomatic and tightlipped in his response. His refusal to comment on the situation regarding the short-term, i.e. his loan until the end of this current season, is damning enough indicating that he’s unlikely to be kept on until. That could be compounded by his flat bat response to questions about the longer-term and him earning a permanent move to Elland Road.
The silence is almost deafening in that it all looks a bit ominous as to whether Jean-Kevin Augustin will ever pull on a Leeds United shirt again.
He’ll be here next season.
Doesn’t look good.