Illan Meslier was only ever brought to Elland Road as a back-up for no.1 stopper Kiko Casilla. The former Real Madrid back-up was always likely to remain as Bielsa’s first-choice. However, his eight-game ban for racially abusing Jonathan Leko meant that Meslier was thrust into a promotion dogfight. It was one where he earned his stripes and that has led to the Whites snapping him up permanently from French side Lorient.
Meslier from Lorient to Leeds on a permanent will be done today. Three year deal. Fee in the region of £5m. #lufc
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) July 23, 2020
If truth be told, Meslier stepped into Casilla’s boots with sang froid and a degree of assuredness. He was calm and collected in his performances and played the game the way that Bielsa wanted it playing.
There are some who do not feel that the Whites should be risking him as the club’s Premier League starter but he has shown that he can handle the pressure when it is placed on his lofty, relatively young shoulders.
Playing in 10 of Leeds’ last 11 games, Meslier has been a huge part of the side that, in the end, romped to the Sky Bet Championship title and then to Premier League promotion.
Across these 10 games, Meslier conceded just 4 goals and kept an astonishing 7 cleans sheets for the Whites. To support what Phil Hay (above) is announcing, Meslier already let it slip that he’d be signing on for a three-year stretch at Elland Road in conversation with Ouest France.
It is a move that has gone down exceptionally well with some Leeds United fans judging by the responses to Phil Hay’s tweeted confirmation that the 20-year-old French stopper is set to sign on permanently at Elland Road. Here’s what some of these fans have been saying.
Leeds United fans comment after Phil Hay confirms Meslier will be a White
Outstanding value for a 20yr old keeper at his level. He has the potential to be worth 10 times that in the future and even if he doesn’t progress as we’d hope we’d still be able to recoup more than 5m quite easily
— LUFC-MOT (@Lufctwit) July 23, 2020
— Kamil Biały (@Lajt89) July 23, 2020
Bargain. He looks very good
— (C)aleb 🇮🇨⚽️🏴 (@caleb23lufc) July 23, 2020
Cracking signing. It will be interesting to see if Beilsa sees him as the number 1 or if Kiko goes we replace with another GK.
— Scott 🏆 (@scottno28) July 23, 2020
Bargain, he will only get better. Looks like the writing is on the wall for Casilla. He’s not good for the heart. Thanks and good luck.
— stevie byrne (@stevie_byrne) July 23, 2020
Great news mate, love the way this kid has shown resilience combined with natural talent to be a winner.
— Darren Foord (@Dazzler17) July 23, 2020
That is absolutely sod all money in today’s market. He’s going to be a superb goalkeeper. Great business 👍
— LUFC_Willo 💙💛 (@LSdadbod1980) July 23, 2020
£5 million barging really for such a young talented keeper, distribution some of the best we’ve had can command his area really well its going to be tough to pick between kiko because kiko came back looking good for me Meslier becomes first choice but kiko’s experience helps
— James (@jimmy_L_UFC) July 23, 2020
This lad is going to be France’s number 1 goalkeeper in 5 years time. I’m surprised they only did 3 years. He’s got the potential to be a £40million goalkeeper. A Victor Orta success though.
— Andy Simpson (@Andy_S_PropTech) July 23, 2020
That’s a ridiculous fee for his potential….We’ve stolen him at that price.
— Tim Kinnear-Smith (@timmsy_ks) July 23, 2020
Great signing imo. He’s been solid since he came in. And will only get better with experience.
— Ole Morten Persen (@OleMPersen) July 23, 2020