Leeds United set to miss out on 'huge amounts of money' with Illan Meslier exit as star causes 'fury' in Miami - BBC reporter
Illan Meslier’s likely exit from Leeds United this summer won’t reflect the “true value of what he will become”, believes to BBC Leeds’ Jonny Buchan.
The commentator expects the goalkeeper to go on to be “one of the greats” in his career despite a damaging season at Elland Road, and had eyed his eventual exit to be for “huge amounts of money” direct to a giant club, but feels that windfall will likely be received elsewhere down the line now.
The 23-year-old was ever-present the duration of the the two previous Premier League relegation battles until he lost his place to Joel Robles under Sam Allardyce, and is now on holiday in Miami which Buchan notes has not gone down well with some supporters.
Speaking on the BBC podcast Don’t Go To Bed Just Yet (5 June, 20m 55s) Buchan said: “We have to start with a man currently sunning himself out in Miami, which has caused the fury of some fans. He’s allowed a holiday, I will say that, it’s the offseason…
“I’ve said openly that Illan Meslier for me will go on to be one of the greats. I think he’ll have a fantastic career and go for huge amounts of money. I was hoping he would go for huge amounts of money from Leeds to somewhere massive and Leeds would benefit from that.
“But now I think clubs will look at him as an easy player to go and get out of Leeds for what would be a financial positive for Leeds but not necessarily the true value of what he will become one day. I think there’ll be a lot of interest in him in the summer.”
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Adam Pope then suggested that the Frenchman may well be one of the players who could have a relegation-release clause in his contract that would reduce his price in the Championship.
The interest in Meslier had been growing for some months and for a young keeper with over 100 appearances in the Premier League already it made a lot of sense.
But after a series of errors saw him benched late in the season it remains to be seen what sort of value he retains this summer.
Had Leeds United stayed in the Premier League he may well have moved on during the window anyway, with a number of top teams looking for keepers, including Chelsea and Tottenham, and they would have had to pay a premium to prize him from Elland Road.
In the Championship it won’t be the same situation, regardless of whether he has an official clause in his contract, so the massive windfall that looked like it had been building over recent seasons may have gone out of the window now.
There is an outside possibility that his high-profile struggles this year, behind a defence that rarely afforded him much protection, have scared off potential suitors among the elite and he could remain for the promotion push.
Rebuilding his confidence and his reputation in the Championship could be the best option long-term, and would keep the Whites in line to eventually profit from his sale.
But with plenty of players set to depart from Elland Road this summer it would still be a surprise if he wasn’t one.
In other Leeds United news, a BT Sport pundit has revealed an apology from Andrea Radrizzani after a “betrayal” at the club.