01 July 2020 10:40
Leeds United loan signing Jean-Kevin Augustin is expected to return to RB Leipzig this week. The French striker was United's big-name recruit in the January transfer window, signing on loan from the Bundesliga side. His transfer included the option to sign in a permanent £18m deal. On top of the £2m loan fee Leeds paid Leipzig, that would have made him their record signing. But fitness issues have severely hampered Augustin's spell at Elland Road.
Indeed, Augustin has managed just three substitute appearances for the club, totally 49 minutes. He is yet to score for Marcelo Bielsa's side. It was hoped the break in the season would help the former PSG striker get up to speed and allow him to aid their promotion push. However, just a week before Project Restart, Augustin damaged his hamstring again. His initial loan deal at Elland Road expired on June 30 and Leeds, it is understood, have not asked Leipzig for an extension.
That news was confirmed as such by The Athletic's Phil Hay, who tweeted: "It is my understanding it [his loan] won't be extended." 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 was asked for clarification following Tuesday's frustrating 1-1 draw at home to basement boys Luton Town. However, Leeds boss Bielsa was giving little away, saying only: "At the moment I have nothing to form on this. Training so far without any problem. "It's a decision we will communicate when we take it." Leeds are, however, expected to confirm in the coming days that Augustin has returned to Leipzig and they have decided against signing him permanently. It's a far cry from the promise Augustin made to Leeds upon signing in January, saying he was "ready to die for the club". "I had one or two clubs who were interested in me, but when I was making my decision I didn't want to go to a club just for the sake of it," said Augustin. "I wanted to go somewhere where I was going to play, get minutes and have clear aims and objectives. "It wasn't a case of turning down other clubs – you mentioned Manchester United. It wasn't a case of turning them down, it was just the fact I had already made my decision. "I decided for me, as a player and a person, the best project was provided by Leeds United. That's what I wanted to do, I had decided already." Whelan was against Augustin signing Doubts over Augustin's permanent signing were first raised by BBC Radio Leeds pundit Noel Whelan. After watching the 22-year-old struggle during his first few months at Elland Road, Whelan has questioned whether the striker is worth the money Leeds would have pay to tie him up to a long-term contract. In an interview with Football Insider, Whelan said: "To put the money on the table is a risk, if he is going to be the record signing he needs to make a difference straight away. "At the minute he has not made any difference and he has not been a part of this promotion push. "He has had 55 minutes maximum and even with that he was fighting himself – his fitness and form. To be honest he was trying too hard. "If we get him into a good frame of mind and the fitness we expect… We could have a real gem." Bielsa, meanwhile, has discussed his frustrations following Tuesday's draw with Luton Town. Read more here. Marcelo Bielsa was again left explaining Leeds' poor finishing after they missed a string of chances in a 1-1 home draw against Luton. Substitute Harry Cornick curled the Hatters into a second-half lead and although Stuart Dallas fired a 63rd-minute equaliser, Leeds missed the chance to move six points clear at the top of the Sky Bet Championship. "What Luton did was right," said Bielsa, whose side now sit four points above second-placed West Brom, who play at Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday. "They played honest, they didn't foul, the referee didn't have an impact in the match. But what is true is that we had lots of chances to score and they had just one chance. "The opponent had one chance to score and we needed 12 chances to score one goal. We played against a team who defended with all their players in the goal and we had 12 or 15 chances." Luton goalkeeper Simon Struga denied Leeds on several occasions, with his double save from successive second-half efforts from Patrick Bamford and Ezgjan Alioski particularly impressive. Bielsa said: "We allowed them to shoot just twice and that is something positive for us. But we cannot ignore that the lack of efficiency was the weak point for our team." Bielsa confirmed skipper Liam Cooper's injury, which forced him off in the 12th minute, was a knock and nothing serious, but said fellow defender Stuart Dallas is likely to miss Saturday's trip to Blackburn after sustaining a hamstring injury. Patrick Bamford had a frustrating evening Bielsa also added that he was not in a position to confirm whether the club would be extending the stay of striker Jean-Kevin Augustin, whose loan spell from RB Leipzig ended on Tuesday. Luton extended their unbeaten run to six matches, but returned to the bottom of the table following Barnsley's win against Blackburn. The battling Hatters gave their all for manager Nathan Jones and are now only two points from safety. "Defensively I thought we were excellent,"Jones said. "They have been together for two years and are well-drilled with one of the best managers in the world. It's a wonderful point." Jones, re-appointed as Hatters boss at the end of last month after being sacked by Stoke in November, was involved in a heated exchange with Leeds substitute Pablo Hernandez after the final whistle. "It was my fault. My fault," Jones said. "We had a little bit of an argument. I apologise. "I probably said something that I shouldn't have said. Nothing malicious, but I shouldn't have said it and I apologised. He was having a moan that they defended too much, one of those things. "I got to practice my Spanish, Pablo got his apology. I wanted him to know we were fighting for our lives."