Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier has been a revelation for the Whites in the Premier League this season after making his move from Lorient permanent.

The 21-year-old has beaten numerous records already, including the most clean-sheets from a keeper his age and also the most appearances.

Marcelo Bielsa has seen his faith repaid in him for this trust at Elland Road, with Kiko Casilla only getting one start in the Premier League.

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Things could have been much different, though.

Xavier Fleury, Meslier’s agent, has revealed that Chelsea wanted to sign him back in 2018, but that was turned down due to one big reason.

“For example, although the talks never reached a concrete stage, Chelsea wanted to buy Illan and send him on loan for a number of years,” he said.

“Because of this, we thought it wasn’t a good idea because Illan needed to settle at a club and play. This would not have been the case.”

Leeds timed their swoop perfectly.

The Whites gave Meslier time to settle in England, before handing him the number one position towards the end of the Championship and into this season.

Chelsea will be desperately regretting this one.

Meslier has made more saves per 90 minutes than both Kepa and Edouard Mendy in the Premier League according to WyScout, as well as excelling in other areas.

The 21-year-old has also prevented more goals than the Blues duo, leaving his line to better effect when under pressure, too.

Chelsea often try to solve their issues by throwing money at things, but Leeds take their time and strike at the very right moment – something which was evident here.

Rather than jump the gun, the Whites allowed Meslier to gain experience and pounced at exactly the right time and are now reaping the benefits of that.

In other Leeds United news, Graham Smyth responds to Robin Koch question on his return


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