Manchester United are keen to add a new goalkeeper this summer, and are reportedly looking to one of their historic rivals to provide David de Gea with genuine competition.
The Spaniard is expected to extend his stay at Old Trafford on reduced terms, with his current £375,000-a-week contract set to expire at the end of next month. With Erik ten Hag’s recent comments suggesting that De Gea will not always be his number one, the signs point to a quality addition between the sticks.
According to TuttoMercato, Illan Meslier is “highly coveted” by Man United.
The Frenchman has had a difficult season at Elland Road, conceding 67 times in 34 Premier League matches, with three errors leading directly to a goal. That poor run of form led to Sam Allardyce dropping Meslier to the bench for the final four matches of the season.
Leeds subsequently conceded eleven more times and ended up with the worst defensive record in the Premier League, suggesting the problem may not have been the goalkeeper.
At 23 years of age, the former FC Lorient shot-stopper has plenty of room for improvement, and his underlying numbers suggest that he could kick on in a proactive set-up.
Meslier completes 1.94 defensive actions outside of his area and stops 7.9 crosses per 90 minutes, ranking him in the 88th and 93rd percentiles in those metrics respectively, when compared to all goalkeepers in Europes ‘Big 5’ domestic competitions. (Fbref)
Going off his time under Marco Bielsa, the young keeper passes the eye test as well, with his confidence in possession and quality distribution catching the eyes of Premier League followers within weeks of signing for Leeds.
The Whites signed Meslier for just €6.5m back in 2020 and, while they would expect a substantial profit on that investment, the club’s need to balance the books upon their relegation – along with the player’s stock being at its lowest point since moving to England – could make the French starlet something of a shrewd signing.
If the idea is to find a player who can develop and provide competition to De Gea rather than outright replace him in the starting eleven, Illan Meslier makes sense at the right price.
TuttoMercato also relays interest in the goalkeeper from Chelsea, however, meaning a bidding war could be on the horizon.
The Italian outlet also notes an interest in Tyler Adams from Ten Hag, although – as discussed by The Peoples Person earlier in the week – the USMNT star could be difficult to fit in at Manchester United.
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