Leeds United could use on-loan Lorient goalkeeper Illan Meslier as their first-choice between the posts in the Premier League next season, a report from the Daily Mail has claimed.
Having joined Leeds on-loan from the French club in the summer transfer window, Meslier did not make his debut for the club until a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup in January.
Meslier’s only other appearances coming in wins over Hull and Huddersfield in the final two games before the suspension of the football season, when he kept two clean sheets while deputising for the suspended Kiko Casilla.
Despite his relative lack of game time, the latest reports have claimed that not only are Leeds willing to pay the £5million required to make his move permanent in the summer, but they could also use Meslier as their first-choice ‘keeper if they win promotion to the Premier League this season.
Meslier has never played at top-flight level in his career before, but it is thought that Leeds would be willing to do that on a regular basis next season should they secure a long-awaited return to the Premier League.
As things stand, Marcelo Bielsa’s side are currently top of the Championship table, seven points clear of third-placed Fulham in the race for automatic promotion, with nine games of the season still to be played at some point.
Indeed, it seems that Leeds are not the only ones interested in a move for Meslier, with Chelsea and Monaco also reportedly monitoring the 20-year-old’s progress, although it is thought that neither club would be able to give Meslier the sort of regular football it has been suggested he will get if he remains at Elland Road.
This is an interesting one.
Meslier did seem more than assured when he made his Leeds debut at Arsenal earlier this season, and has also performed well during the two league outings he has enjoyed this season.
However, there would understandably be questions about whether he could maintain that level throughout the course of a season, particularly when playing at Premier League level for the first time in his career.
Even so, Meslier will have to make that step up eventually at some point, and if giving him that opportunity is enough to ward off the likes of Chelsea in the battle for such a promising ‘keeper, it may be a risk worth taking for Leeds.