Jean-Kevin Augustin was at one stage spoken about in the same breath as Kylian Mbappé as both won youth international honours with France. In fact, Augustin had been a regular in the youth setup since U16 level after first running out for the country on 30th October 2012. He was, and certainly to some extent still is, a player that France had high hopes for – but he has fallen off the pace in recent times and failed to win a French cap with the national side.
There’s no doubt that the person that will feel the disappointment of that the most is Jean-Kevin Augustin himself. And it must be said, he does come across as a thoroughly decent individual. But the facts are the facts and the French national team are enjoying great domination on the international scene after winning the World Cup. The latest Euro odds also suggest that Les Bleus are in line to win another trophy in the summer with the French priced at 5/1 to make it back-to-back international trophies.
Augustin sadly won’t be a part of that and it’s worth looking back on where it has gone wrong and whether he can cope at Leeds with the notoriously demanding training regime that Marcelo Bielsa puts his players through.
A move from PSG to RB Leipzig in 2017 was seen as an admirable decision from the Frenchman given that he was not content to sit on the bench whilst winning every domestic title in France. And all things told, it was quite a positive start with the German club but the good times soon petered out and Augustin eventually scored 20 goals in 60 starts for the Bundesliga outfit. It’s worth mentioning that he also chipped in with eight assists and one can’t forget how useful he looked in the early days.
In the summer of 2019, Leipzig agreed to let Augustin join Monaco on a loan deal but the going was quite slow in the Principality, too: the 22-year-old only managed one goal in 13 starts. Leeds then came calling at the eleventh hour of the January transfer window and in a matter of only a few days, Monaco and Leipzig agreed to terminate his loan at the Stade Louis II.
Augustin eventually signed for Leeds late on in January and is even rumoured to have turned down Manchester United in the process. Naturally, West Yorkshire was abuzz with excitement at the Frenchman’s arrival but that initial elation has died down since Augustin injured a muscle in his hamstring.
No one is too sure how long the Frenchman will now be out for and doubts have arisen over whether Augustin’s body will cope with the rigours of Marcelo Bielsa’s training. The former Lille manager has pushed the 22-year-old in the hope that he will be match fit for a crucial run-in for Leeds as they hone in on promotion to the Premier League, but the signs are not good after only a month at the club.
With so few games remaining in the Championship season, Augustin is in a race against time to make his mark at Elland Road but that may not be the end of his story in Leeds should he not appear again this season. When he signed on loan from Leipzig, the deal left Leeds with an obligation to buy the striker should the Whites gain promotion.
How Leeds fans will react to spending £20m on a striker that spent the loan season on the treatment table is another matter. The club must, however, accept some responsibility given how rushed the signing was and how demanding Bielsa is of his players in training. Basically, an injury was always very likely to occur.
The aim for Augustin now is to be fully fit for the start of the 2020/2021 season and that may involve taking time out of his summer holiday to train in order to be the best version of himself come pre-season. The bottom line now is that sacrifices have to be made in the career of this young man in order for him to get back on track and realise his true potential, but there is great incentive to do so as a striker in the Premier League for the famous Leeds United.