Noel Whelan has claimed Leeds United may have “a real gem” in Jean-Kevin Augustin if he gets fully fit but insisted he is not worth a club-record fee this summer.
The former Whites forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, insisted it would be “a risk” to sign the 22-year-old permanently having barely featured since arriving at Elland Road.
According to Bild, the Whites will be obliged to complete a club-record £17.7million deal for the French striker if they gain promotion to the Premier League.
Augustin has been limited to just three substitute appearances since arriving on loan from RB Leipzig in January due to fitness troubles.
Angus Kinnear insisted in the Yorkshire Evening Post the loanee has a “critical part” to play in the run-in.
When asked by Football Insider if the obligation to buy was a potential worry with Augustin rarely seen, Whelan said: “To put the money on the table is a risk.
“If he is going to be the record signing he needs to make a difference straight away. At the minute he has not made any difference and he has not been a part of this promotion push.
“He has had 55 minutes maximum and even with that he was fighting himself – his fitness and form. To be honest he was trying too hard. If we can get him into a good frame of mind and the fitness levels we expect we could have a real gem on our hands.”
As revealed by Football Insider, West Ham were offered the chance to sign the former France under-21 international in consecutive windows but decided against pursuing a move.