In the January transfer window of 2020, Leeds were desperate to bolster their attacking options following Arsenal’s recall of Eddie Nketiah, and wanted to sign a striker to help push the club over the line and achieve automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Following numerous failed attempts to permanently sign Che Adams from Southampton, with Leeds having at least two formal bids rejected by the Saints, the club turned their attention to former French youth international Jean-Kevin Augustin from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.
At the time, the 22 year old was on loan at AS Monaco in Ligue 1, however Leipzig agreed to recall Augustin in order for the player to make the move to West Yorkshire – which was initially a loan transfer.
Within the loan agreement, Leeds included an option that they had an obligation to sign the player permanently for £17.7million if they achieved promotion to the Premier League, which was achieved in the COVID hit season.
Despite the hype around the arrival of Jean-Kevin Augustin, with ‘Big Kev’ having had Champions League experience with both Paris St. Germain and his parent club RB Leipzig, the striker played just 48 minutes for Leeds since his arrival, failing to score or start a single game for the club and making just three substitute appearances.
Because of his failed impact, and Leeds’ Championship winning season, the club weren’t so keen to sign the striker despite the obligation for €21million, and searched the small print of the contract in an attempt to find an alternative option.
Within the obligation, the contract stated that Leeds must sign Augustin permanently upon promotion, and was set to be activated on the 30th June 2020, at the end of the original Championship season, however because of the COVID break within the campaign Leeds hadn’t been promoted by that date, and the Championship still had 6 rounds of fixtures to be played.
Because of this, Leeds terminated Augustin’s loan on the 30th June, with Marcelo Bielsa stating that it was ‘convenient’ that the Frenchman returned to his parent club, however RB Leipzig disputed this and were not at all happy with the situation – so much so that upon Leeds’ promotion, the German club opted for legal action as they believed that they were due £17.7 million and the permanent deal to be completed.
On the 8th June 2021, almost a year after the original date for the transfer to be completed, FIFA agreed with RB Leipzig that Leeds were in the wrong – however this was prior to an official investigation by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which was held this Tuesday.
The hearing earlier this week was just over four hours long, with both sides explaining their side of the argument, and despite the official verdict possibly taking months to be found, the Germans are confident that CAS, like FIFA, will be on their side.
Speaking with Sport Buzzer, the RB Leipzig commercial director Florian Scholz stated that:
“RB Leipzig has once again clearly deposited its points in the hearing before the CAS.
“We still consider ourselves to be in the right and are therefore very confident about the written verdict.”
Following the end of the original loan deal, Jean-Kevin Agustin became a free agent due to both Leeds and RB Leipzig providing written statements that the 24 year old was not their player, and as a result he returned to his homeland and Ligue 1 with Nantes – where he has played just 7 times since October 2020.
It seems that the sticky legal situation between Leeds and Leipzig is finally coming to a head, however if Leipzig’s confidence is to be true then the Whites will have to finally pay up the €21million to the German outfit, with Augustin able to remain at Nantes.