By Joe Ellis

4th Jan, 2023 | 6:10pm

Victor Orta has questions to answer as Napoli chase ex-Leeds United goalkeeper Elia Caprile

Illan Meslier is the undisputed number one goalkeeper at Leeds United but they could have just thrown away another top talent.

After loans away from Elland Road and zero appearances for the Whites’ senior team, Elia Caprile was finally sold to SC Bari in his native Italy this summer, with Leeds due 50% of any future fee.

Victor Orta might not have foreseen that sell-on clause coming in so quickly, though, as Sky Italia reported on 2 January that Champions League club Napoli were pushing ahead with talks to sign the 21-year-old.

Bari want to wait until the summer to sell their first-choice shot-stopper but Napoli want it to happen now although no agreement has been reached yet and Benfica are considering a move too.

Leeds might not have had any intention of him playing this season but the way Meslier has started the campaign has attracted some very big clubs to his status at Elland Road such as Chelsea and Bayern Munich [RMC Sport].

If the Frenchman does end up leaving then Jesse Marsch is left with a big hole in between the sticks that Joel Robles and Kristoffer Klaesson aren’t really good enough to fill.

Caprile could have been if he had been given a chance to shine in Yorkshire but that opening never presented itself and he ended up forcing his way out of the club.

That decision to sell rather than loan now looks incredibly foolish and Orta may have some big questions to ask if he goes to Napoli or Benfica and becomes a star in the future.

The director of football should have predicted that Meslier would attract interest and he could have brought in a huge fee safe in the knowledge that the Italian was there to be the new sensation in goal.

Now he has to make himself believe that the fee he receives from the sale to Napoli or Benfica, whenever it may be, is vindication for the decision even if he carries on this upward trajectory for years to come.

In other Leeds United news, crucially for Marsch, there is encouraging news regarding Patrick Bamford and one summer recruit is not far behind either.