Illan Meslier could be the next high-profile departure from Leeds United, journalist Graham Smyth has claimed.
It is the most lucrative sale in Leeds’ history, surpassing Rio Ferdinand’s £30m move to Manchester United in 2002. The record may not stand for long, though, with Raphinha potentially following Phillips out the door.
The Brazilian has interest from Barcelona, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal and will be allowed to depart if Leeds’ demands are met (via The Athletic). Some reports have claimed that a £55m deal has been agreed with the Camp Nou outfit.
Meslier, who joined Leeds from Lorient in 2020, is under contract with the Yorkshire club for another four years.
In a Yorkshire Evening Post Q&A, one Leeds supporter asked chief football writer Smyth whether the 22-year-old could be ‘next’ to leave because of his ‘exponential potential’.
Smyth insisted that the club aren’t actively looking to offload Meslier but admitted that the goalkeeper may have lofty ambitions. A departure is unlikely this summer though, with the Whites looking to avoid further upheaval.
Smyth claimed: “I wouldn’t say Leeds are looking to move Illan Meslier on but he’s the one in the squad that you would think will be capable of going on to the next level and playing European football.”
He later added: “What Leeds don’t want is a scenario where multiple players are lost at once. Selling two, as they are, is just about manageable but the situation with any squad has to be very delicately balanced.”
It wouldn’t be a surprise if Meslier goes in the short- to medium-term future, as he could well have his admirers.
Indeed, Les Bleus’ incumbent number one Hugo Lloris has identified Meslier as his potential successor when the Tottenham veteran retires from international football.
The ‘massive goalkeeping talent’, in the words of The Athletic’s Phil Hay, is valued at £18m by Transfermarkt. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Leeds demand a lot more than that for the stopper, whose 139 Premier League saves last season exceeded every other ‘keeper in the top flight.
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