Jean-Kevin Augustin will not be a Leeds player for the upcoming season.
For the longest time, it seemed as though the Frenchman’s Elland Road future hung in the balance as RB Leipzig relentlessly chased Leeds for the €21m (£18m) fee they agreed to pay to sign him permanently if they were to be promoted.
Leipzig haven’t given up on getting their money, but both parties have agreed that they don’t want Augustin at the club, and thus he has been given a free transfer to Nantes.
Nantes’ Sporting Director Franck Kita has spoken about this unique deal and the circumstances surrounding it, claiming that he got written permission from both Leeds and Leipzig to finalise this deal. While United may now have to fork out £18m on a player they won’t be able to use, we still feel as though this is the right decision.
“We have no doubts (about signing Augustin). We have a written record from both clubs (Leeds and Leipzig). Experience shows me that we must not take risks. We did not take risks. Otherwise, we would not have positioned ourselves on the player,” Kita said.
Marcelo Bielsa doesn’t want Augustin, and there’s genuinely no point in having a player at the club who isn’t going to get a game. While United’s poor judgement in January may end up costing them £18m, they have at least saved millions on his potential wages.
Augustin was on £90k-a-week at Leipzig and we can’t imagine that he’d have agreed to a massive pay-cut when Leeds were ironing out the details of their obligation to buy, so they have absolutely made the right choice in giving Nantes permission to sign him for free.
The Whites are undoubtedly still in a nightmare situation with their legal case against Leipzig, but they have avoided the absolute worst-case scenario in which Augustin remains a drain on their wage bill for years to come.
The Yorkshire club may still end up £18m down, but at least it’s not going to be any more than that now.