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Jean-Kevin Augustin fitness is a concern for Marco Bielsa

Loan coup:
Augustin

LEEDS manager Marco Bielsa has launched an impassioned defence of his decision not to select Jean-Kevin Augustin since arriving on loan from RB Leipzig last month.

The 22-year-old’s signing looked a coup when the Championship side beat Manchester United to land Augustin — who cost £11million from Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 — but the 22-year-old striker did not make Leeds’ 18-man squad for last Saturday’s home defeat to Wigan, their third loss in four games.

And during a 20-minute answer yesterday, a head coach renowned for his tough fitness regime was non-committal about whether Augustin would play at promotion rivals Nottingham Forest tomorrow.

‘Augustin can make a lot of impact,’ said Bielsa. ‘You realise that from how much he cost and the teams he played for. But when in the last eight months he played three full games, the conclusions about his fitness levels are clear.

‘A player of his level could cost £30m or £40m. If he arrived here without us paying that money, it’s because he has to resolve a problem.

‘If Augustin gets to play in 70 per cent of his skills, it is going to be enough for him to play here. But 50 per cent of his skills is not going to be enough to compete.’