Sky Sports pundit Jermaine Beckford has admitted that he was baffled by Marcelo Bielsa’s decision to sign Jean-Kevin Augustin for Leeds United in January.
After Arsenal cancelled Eddie Nketiah’s loan spell early, Leeds entered a frantic race against time to find a replacement before they eventually landed Augustin, 22, on loan from RB Leipzig.
Leeds do have the option to sign Augustin permanently but between his arrival in January and the coronavirus-enforced suspension of the Championship season, the French forward played just three times as a substitute.
Augustin struggled to get up to the fitness standards that Bielsa wanted him to be at and an injury then dealt him with a setback in his bid to meet the Argentine’s requirements.
However, the suspension of the season has proven to be a blessing in disguise for Augustin, who returned to Thorp Arch this week looking a lot leaner and fitter than he did when he arrived in Yorkshire in the winter.
There probably isn’t a single player in the Championship who worked harder than ‘Big Kev’ in lockdown.
🔥 The hard work continues! pic.twitter.com/MF8uUyEwYn
— Leeds United (@LUFC) May 26, 2020
Ex-Leeds striker Beckford could not believe that Bielsa signed someone like Augustin in January but has suggested he’s been proven wrong by the hardworking centre-forward.
“I’ll be honest, when [Augustin] first came in, in my opinion, he looked quite heavy set,” Beckford told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“He was quite a surprising acquisition because he doesn’t really fit in with the Leeds United body shape under Marcelo Bielsa. I was quite surprised by that.
“But maybe he is one for next season and Bielsa knows something that we all don’t know.
“Maybe he has seen something in the 1089 billion minutes that he has seen him train and play in and whatnot.
“He does a lot of research into every player and every team that he plays against so it’s not just a signing that is on a whim so I would like to see when Augustin is fit, really fighting fit, and see what he offers.
“You can tell he puts his body about but he has not really had many minutes or much game time so it’s quite difficult to judge him right now.”
Bielsa will have done more research on Augustin than anyone and we hope that the Frenchman can prove his worth once the football season resumes because he is someone who could be crucial for the Whites’ bid to return to the Premier League.
Patrick Bamford’s done well this season but Bielsa needs a second option up front in case Bamford’s form drops drastically or becomes unavailable for whatever reason.
Augustin has to be on his toes and we hope his impact can be explosive.
In other Leeds United news, Nketiah’s loan failure may have an impact on the Whites’ pursuit of this player.