Graham Smyth has hailed the summer deal for 20-year-old Illan Meslier as “remarkable business” and said it’s so good a deal for Leeds United it “feels almost illegal”.

Meslier joined Leeds on loan in the summer of 2019 before making his stay permanent in a £5m deal from Lorient.

Meslier won the gloves from Kiko Casilla last season after the veteran keeper was banned for racist abuse and he hasn’t looked back since.

Talking on the Inside Elland Road podcast Smyth said, “He’s been great. For a 20-year-old, for £5m, Victor Orta has… It feels almost illegal what’s he done, getting a player of his age and his ability for £5m. Remarkable business.”

“I hope it’s not illegal, otherwise he’ll have to go back,” Joe Urquhart said.

“Feeling illegal… I’m not slandering Victor Orta here on the Inside Elland Road podcast,” Smyth said.

“Given his age and experience, going into the Premier League and what he’s done. He’s been very, very good and has a bright future,” Urquhart said.

“I can’t believe he can’t get in the France Under-21 team, France must have some very good keepers coming through.”

leeds united

Absolute bargain

Meslier is growing into his role as number one at Leeds brilliantly and we can’t see any way back for Casilla unless the France Under-21 international suffers an injury.

He was awarded the highest rating of any player on the pitch by WhoScored in the 1-0 win against Everton last Saturday.

With a stunning 8.4 rating he was the only player on the pitch to score above a 7.

He made nine saves in that game and was a huge part in Leeds taking the three points back to Elland Road. [WyScout]

He hit close to the same heights in the games against Sheffield United and Aston Villa but picked up some critics for his display against Crystal Palace.

Mistakes are inevitable but we think Meslier has got everything. He’s a solid shot-stopper and has brilliant distribution. And he’s only 20.

So far this season he’s completed close to 70% of his 66 long passes – the same as Liverpool’s Alisson and a good 10% better than Ederson at Man City. [WyScout]

In other Leeds United news, ‘Not going to be happy’ – YEP journalist claims Bielsa set to bench £57k/wk Leeds ace v Chelsea

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