Former Leeds United man's fitness nightmare goes on with new club as Whites await court decision

Former Leeds United striker Jean-Kevin Augustin’s fitness nightmare is continuing with a fresh set-back in training at his new club.

By Graham Smyth
Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 1:44 pm

The Frenchman, whose 2020 move to Elland Road from RB Leipzig is still a matter being considered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, joined FC Basel in the Swiss Super League last month.

Augustin’s contract with Nantes ran out, making him a free agent, but three weeks into his stay with Basel the 25-year-old has picked up an injury.

His club have reported that Augustin ruptured a ligament in his right foot while working in their pre-season training camp. The injury occured without a tackle being made and an MRI scan revealed that the extent of the problem will keep him out of action for several weeks.

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This latest issue continues a trend suffered by Augustin since his January 2020 loan move to Leeds. He was brought in to compete with Patrick Bamford for the number nine role in Marcelo Bielsa’s team but a calf issue and subsequent failure to return to full fitness meant he played just 48 minutes of Championship football.

Bielsa was content for Augustin to leave Elland Road and return to his parent club before the season resumed after a Covid-19 enforced break. Although the deal with Leipzig had a €21m obligation to buy if Leeds won promotion, it became a matter of dispute between the two clubs.

Leeds felt that their obligation was rendered null and void because they were promoted after the original loan deal was due to expire on June 30, thanks to the three-month pause in world football’s calendar. Leipzig disagreed, FIFA backed the German club’s position and Leeds appealed, taking it to CAS.

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FITNESS NIGHTMARE - Jean-Kevin Augustin has endured a torrid time with health and fitness since a move to Leeds United that didn't work out for either party and resulted in a Court of Arbitration hearing. Pic: Getty

A four-hour hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland, took place in March and the result has not yet been delivered but Leipzig believe they will come out on top.

Speaking to Frankfurter Allgemeine after the hearing, Leipzig commercial director for sport Florian Scholz said: “RB Leipzig again clearly deposited its points in the hearing in front of the CAS. We still see ourselves as right and are therefore very confident about the written verdict.”

The dispute has not impacted upon Leeds’ ability to do business with the Red Bull group, however. This summer they have already bought RB Salzburg pair Brenden Aaronson and Rasmus Kristensen, for a combined sum of £35m, and are close to finalising a move for defensive midfielder Tyler Adams from Leipzig.

As for Augustin, he left Leipzig to join Nantes in the summer of 2020 but continued to struggle with fitness.

He was relegated to the reserves in February 2021 by Antoine Kombouaré having made just three brief cameo Ligue 1 appearances that season, and he didn’t return until midway through the following campaign. It was revealed in January of this year that Augustin had suffered from long COVID and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a condition causing muscle weakness.

Although he did make it back into the Nantes side in the second half of last season, Augustin still only managed 77 minutes of senior league action before departing in the summer to join Basel.