Leeds United

Leeds United


Leeds striker target issues definitive statement on Premier League move after snubbing £21m opportunity

Arnaud Kalimuendo of PSG during the preseason friendly soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Kawasaki Frontale at National Stadium in Tokyo

France U21 striker Arnaud Kalimuendo has broken his silence on the summer transfer rumours which saw him linked with Leeds United.

Kalimuendo was up for sale at Paris Saint-Germain despite impressing during a two-year loan at Lens. PSG officials must have felt Kalimuendo was not quite good enough to break into the first team, which is understandable given their incredible squad.

Kalimuendo would have loved to make it into the PSG starting eleven after coming through their youth setup. However, he soon came to the realisation that this was unlikely, at this stage of his career at least.

As such, the 20-year-old became the subject of a summer transfer tussle. Leeds pursued Kalimuendo after failing to land Charles De Ketelaere, while the Whites later missed out on Cody Gakpo too.

PSG’s Ligue 1 rivals Rennes also set their sights on Kalimuendo. And it was Rennes who won the race for his signature, with the transfer going through on August 12.

The transfer fee was kept undisclosed by the sides but was reportedly worth £21million (€25m). Leeds had also been willing to pay this sum to land him.

Kalimuendo penned a long-term contract with Rennes which should keep him there until summer 2027.

The young Frenchman made his Rennes debut during a 1-1 draw with Monaco in the league. He has managed 10 appearances in all competitions, though only one goal and three assists have come his way.

Kalimuendo is highly rated in Ligue 1 and will be expecting to turn things around by starting to score more often.

French forward rejects Leeds advances

Things could have been far different if he came to the Premier League. Kalimuendo would have competed with Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo for a starting spot at Elland Road.

It is hard to say whether his signing would have changed Leeds’ fortunes in recent weeks. But given Bamford’s recent struggles, Jesse Marsch having Kalimuendo in the squad could have been helpful.

The Rennes man has now spoken about the battle for his signature during an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe (via HITC).

It seems he is unlikely to move to the Prem in the near future as he is happy playing in Ligue 1.

“There was no other possible decision,” Kalimuendo said. “Didn’t think of the Premier League (because) I wanted to play here (at Rennes), with players I know.

“I watched a lot of matches last season, I saw how Martin (Terrier) and (Benjamin) Bourigeaud play and I really like imagining myself with them in the coach’s system.”

Kalimuendo added: “A frustration to leave PSG? Not at all. I knew what I wanted (to join).

Arnaud Kalimuendo proud of PSG spell

“I have always been treated well and I leave there without bitterness. It is a source of pride to have been able to play at the Parc des Princes.

“But I knew it was going to be very hard to play. Progresses comes through the playing time, which I have at Rennes.”

Leeds did eventually sign a striker in the summer as Wilfried Gnonto arrived from FC Zurich on a permanent deal.

However, the 18-year-old is viewed as an option for the future. He is currently playing for Leeds U21s and is yet to make his senior Whites debut.

Missing out on Kalimuendo will have been a blow for Leeds. But his reasoning for moving to Rennes is understandable.

The attacker will have had reservations about leaving France at such an early age. Only certain youngsters can cope with such a big change in surroundings and still impress on the pitch.

Kalimuendo could change his mind and end up moving to England at a later stage in his career. But for now it seems he is very happy in France and will look to impress at Rennes.

Meanwhile, Leeds are among the clubs to have sent scouts to watch a Juventus player, according to one journalist.