Leeds United were heavily linked with a move for a centre-forward for the vast majority of the summer transfer window, however, aside from the last-minute signing of talented youth prospect Wilfried Gnonto, Victor Orta ultimately failed to add an experienced number nine to Jesse Marsch’s first team squad prior to the market closing on September 1.
And, while missing out on the likes of Charles De Ketelaere to AC Milan and Arnaud Kalimuendo to Stade Rennais will undoubtedly have come as a blow to the Whites’ director of football at the time, considering how Kalimuendo’s campaign in France has panned out thus far, it appears as if the Spaniard dodged something of a bullet on the 20-year-old.
Indeed, it was not difficult to understand why the former Paris Saint-Germain starlet would have been an attacker who piqued Orta’s interest, as, over a two-year loan spell with RC Lens, the France U21 international highly impressed – scoring 21 goals and providing his teammates with six assists over his 65 appearances in all competitions for the Ligue 1 side.
However, after making a €25m (£22m) move west of Paris to Rennes this summer, Kalimuendo initially struggled to find form in his new surroundings, enjoying just 18 touches of the ball, completing a mere 12 passes and failing to take a single shot on his debut in a 1-1 draw with AS Monaco, as well as having just 22 touches, completing 13 passes and taking one shot in a 2-1 win over AC Ajaccio in his second appearance for the club.
Despite his struggle for form, it is undeniable that the £26m-rated forward is still an extremely exciting prospect who will more than likely enjoy a fine career, however, it is the 20-year-old’s current injury status that will more than likely provide Orta with some comfort in missing out on the Frenchman this summer.
Indeed, an early-season muscle tear – sustained following the victory over Ajaccio – has seen the player who Jacek Kulig dubbed “deadly” miss Stade Rennais’ last six fixtures in all competitions, with Bruno Genesio revealing that the attacker will once again be unavailable for the Rouge et Noir’s Europa League meeting with Fenerbahce S.K. on Thursday evening as a result of his setback.
As such, considering the fact that injuries to both Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo had intensified the Whites’ search for a new centre-forward over the closing stages of the summer transfer window, missing out on the signing of Kalimuendo actually appears to have been something of a blessing in disguise for Orta and Leeds – in the short-term, at least.