What’s the word?
As per journalist Graeme Bailey, the Elland Road outfit are “in talks” to sign the 20-year-old this summer, with the reported fee set to be in the region of €25m (£21m) for a player who impressed last season on loan at Lens.
Writing on Twitter about the Yorkshire club’s interest in the youngster, the transfer insider stated: “Leeds United in talks to sign PSG striker Arnaud Kalimuendo and they are close to agreeing €25m deal.”
In his attached piece for 90min, Bailey reported that the Whites have made the young Frenchman their ‘number one target’ to bolster their forward line and are seemingly ‘confident’ of getting an agreement over the line.
There will no doubt be much excitement regarding a player who netted 12 Ligue 1 last season during his temporary stint away from the Parc des Princes – having once been labelled “prolific” by talent scout Jacek Kulig – although supporters may be wary of a repeat of a previous transfer disaster.
Like Kalimuendo, former Leeds flop Jean-Kevin Augustin was also a highly-rated product of the PSG youth system, although he ultimately failed to deliver in his brief stint under Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road, having been plucked from RB Leipzig on an initial loan deal in January 2020.
The former France under-21 international was expected to help with the Whites’ promotion push in the second half of the 2019/20 campaign, although he ultimately went on to make just three appearances totalling a mere 48 minutes, having been unable to get up to speed with Bielsa’s intense style of play.
The club had agreed to an obligation-to-buy of £18m if they achieved promotion that term, although the pandemic-impacted nature of the season saw them manage to find a loophole in the deal to avoid having to pay that fee, something which is now the subject of a dispute with the Bundesliga club.
Although that scenario likely won’t occur again with Kalimuendo, there may be similar concerns as to whether he can make an instant impact in Jesse Marsch’s side, with adapting to the rigours of English football no mean feat.
As talkSPORT reporter Alex Crook suggested, Leeds may potentially be searching for or in need of a “bigger name” than that of the £16.2m-rated starlet if they are to improve upon last season’s disappointing overall performance, when they were hampered by the lengthy absences of regular starter Patrick Bamford.
Should sporting director Victor Orta get the Kalimuendo deal done, the 5 foot 9 menace deserves time to settle into life in Yorkshire, although a failure to mark his mark early on could well evoke memories of the disastrous Augustin capture.