Kiko Casilla’s suspension is not something that we Leeds United supporters wanted to see but without it, we might not have seen how good Illan Meslier is.
Since the Spanish shot-stopper was hit with an eight-match ban for racially abusing Jonathan Leko, 20-year-old Meslier has stepped up into Marcelo Bielsa’s starting line-up and done a fantastic job.
The on-loan Lorient goalkeeper has kept clean sheets in wins over Hull and Huddersfield to keep Leeds’ promotion bid on track before the coronavirus-enforced suspension of the EFL earlier this month.
Meslier also performed brilliantly in January when the Whites lost 1-0 to Arsenal in the FA Cup at the Emirates.
Although he didn’t keep a clean sheet on that day, he made three saves – two of which were reflex saves – and even impressed with his distribution by completing 100 per cent of his passes [WyScout].
Meslier is only on loan at Elland Road but Leeds could have the option to sign him permanently if they wish.
French news outlet Ouest France has reported that if Meslier plays in 10 first-team matches, or if the Yorkshire giants win promotion, then a £5million permanent clause will be triggered.
The 20-year-old has, so far, shown that he is worth that £5million with his performances on the pitch but his behaviour off the pitch has also shown him to be someone who Leeds should be pushing to sign no matter what in the next transfer window.
Leeds left-back Barry Douglas has recently hailed the goalkeeper’s personality, saying that he is the funniest player at the club.
“You know what, I’m going to give you a dark horse. Who I think is one of the funniest in the squad is Illan Meslier, just because of his one-liners,” Douglas told Leeds’ official website.
“He’s a great character, he’s so bubbly and everyone took to him straight away. He’s a great personality to be around and you don’t expect it, having past experience of playing abroad it can be intimidating, but there is no shyness whatsoever.”
Meslier is not only a good goalkeeper but he seems to be a great team-mate.
It’s all well and good having the best players but if they do not gel off the pitch and can have a laugh at the training ground and in the dressing room, then they’re going to find it harder to gel on the pitch.
Meslier has only just turned 20 but is rapidly gaining popularity among the squad and in the stands.
With each day that passes, it becomes more and more clear that the Yorkshire club needs to sign the French goalkeeper.
In other Leeds United news, this defender could be a great freebie signing for the Whites.