Leeds United confirmed on their official website that Illan Meslier has joined on a season-long loan, but there appears to be a little more to the deal than originally first believed.
According to the goalkeeper’s parent club, Lorient, the 19-year-old could remain at Elland Road beyond the end of the current campaign.
The Ligue 2 outfit have revealed in their own club statement that Leeds have the option to buy the teenager should Marcelo Bielsa’s side be impressed with what he brings to the club.
With the departure of Bailey Peacock-Farrell to Burnley this summer, Leeds appear to have moved swiftly to replace him despite having the likes of Will Huffer and Kamil Miazek to deputise for Kiko Casilla should they be required.
With the experienced Spaniard likely to be Bielsa’s first choice in between the sticks after becoming a mainstay in the second half of the campaign last year, it will be intriguing to see what role Meslier will have at Elland Road moving forward. However, he has earned a number of glowing reviews in his short career already and has also allegedly attracted the interest of Chelsea previously.
Stephane Le Garrec, who was a former coach of the teenager’s at Lorient, spoke highly of what the shot-stopper was like as a person and as a player and described him as an individual who is ‘quite a force’ and someone who has ‘real personality’.
“He’s a great kid,” he told Goal. “He’s pretty atypical compared to the young players we can get in academies, Illan is a quiet force.
“He’s a bit like Montpellier goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte, who I trained. We felt he had real personality, he knew what he wanted.”
Should the 19-year-old be called upon by Bielsa at any point through the season though, then there will be some confidence that he can step in for Casilla.
According to statistics collected by Transfermarkt, the teenager has played 30 matches for the Ligue 2 outfit, keeping 11 clean sheets and conceded just 32 goals in his debut campaign, whilst he has also represented France’s Under-20 national team on four occasions, with two of those appearances coming in the 2019 Under-20 World Cup (Transfermarkt).
Inserting an option-to-buy clause in the season-long loan deal for Meslier could become an excellent piece of business for Leeds this summer.
Although a deal could be seen as a gamble, with the likes of Casilla already in the side, the teenager could be someone that the Whites could turn to in the future – especially if Le Garrec’s comments are anything to go by.
Leeds fans, do you think the club have managed to pull off some clever business in regards to Meslier’s loan switch? Let us know your thoughts by sharing them in the comments section below!
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