SoccerAll in the Game

Leeds counting the cost of Jean-Kevin Augustin’s disastrous signing

Megan Campbell’s long throw leads her to be dubbed ‘Rory Delass’

Leeds fans will, you’d imagine, struggle to remember Jean-Kevin Augustin’s time at the club, the French striker only making three substitute appearances, totalling 48 minutes, after signing on loan from RB Leipzig in January 2020.

A clause in the move obliged Leeds to buy the player for €21 million if they won promotion to the Premier League that season. That they did, but they were so unimpressed with him they tried to get out of the deal, arguing the clause had elapsed due to the Covid-19-related delay in the season finishing.

Leipzig, naturally enough, weren’t best pleased, Fifa upholding their complaint and ordering Leeds to pay them €17.5 million for Augustin. That meant every minute he played for them cost €364,583. But it gets worse. No, really.

Augustin, who now plays with Basel in Switzerland, lodged his own claim against Leeds for what he would have earned at the club having agreed a five-year contract. That deal included a €2.9m signing-on fee and wages of €108,500-a-week. Fifa partly supported that claim, ordering Leeds to pay him ... €28.6 million. And last week The Athletic reported that the club had withdrawn its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against that decision.


So, in all, Augustin will cost Leeds just over €46 million. Which means he earned roughly €16,000 for every second he played for the club. The definition of money for old rope, that.

Word of Mouth

“The chef always used to put out a bowl of harissa on the table. Balotelli thought it was tomato sauce and began plastering it over his pasta. Us other players thought: ‘That’s hot stuff – and he’s taken a lot of it.’ Inside five minutes he was weeping and the sweat was pouring down his face. We were crying with laughter – it was exceptional.”

Mario Balotelli’s former Marseille team-mate Florian Thauvin on yet another ‘why always me?’ moment in his career.

“He showed the worst attitude that a top player can have. His behaviour is simply scandalous. He spat in the face of the Champions League. He was an absolute disgrace. I did not think that this boy could fall this low.”

Apart from that, Christophe Dugarry thought Kylian Mbappé did quite well for PSG against Barcelona last week.

“Erling Haaland was very bad. If he doesn’t score, he’s quite useless.”

Apart from that, Rafael van der Vaart thought Haaland did quite well for Manchester City against Real Madrid last week.

Germán Burgos apology doesn’t wash with Movistar

Least convincing apology of the week? How about the one from former Argentina goalkeeper Germán Burgos, who is now a pundit.

“My intention was not to disparage Lamine Yamal, quite the opposite ... I chose to make a joke about quality, in no way was it about any ethnicity or social class. I apologise to anyone who was offended. Football unites everything and everyone, that is why it is the best sport since it does not discriminate based on sex, race, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation.”

What had he said? On spotting the 16-year-old warming up before Barcelona’s Champions League game against Paris Saint-Germain: “If it [his football career] doesn’t go well, he’ll end up at a traffic light.” At which point Movistar dispensed with his services.

More Word of Mouth

“Having idiots say things to me does not affect me. It has affected my family more. Rather than tell someone to **** off and then be the thug, I close them. That’s better.”

Real Mallorca’s Pablo Maffeo explaining why he’s shut down his social media accounts. Wise man.

“So when at times the mob is swayed, To carry praise or blame too far, We may choose something like a star, to stay our minds on and be staid.”

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes reciting a Robert Frost poem in response to a question about her feud with Arsenal gaffer Jonas Eidevall. Like you do.

“Erik is a very good manager. I’m not here to back him because he’s already big enough to back himself. He did great things for United last season. But this is football and I always say football is temporary.”

Andre Onana with an, eh, ringing endorsement for his gaffer.


“The dwarf was possessed, he had the face of the devil.”

Monterrey coach Nico Sanchez after a rather heated exchanged with Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi following their Concacaf Champions Cup game.

By the Numbers: 38

As measured by ITV, the length in metres of one of Megan Campbell’s throws against England last week. ‘Rory Delass,’ she was, inevitably, dubbed.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times