Chelsea are reportedly readying ambitious plans to snare one of Leeds United’s prized assets amid claims Todd Boehly is planning to make the star one of his primary targets of 2023.
The new Blues co-owner has illustrated that money is no object when it comes to the transfer market. Indeed, Chelsea were comfortably the Premier League’s highest-spending club over the summer, splashing out around £269m.
Indeed, Wesley Fofana (£71m), Marc Cucurella (£58m), Raheem Sterling (£48m) all arrived for sizeable sums. However, their scattergun approach to the transfer window did not go down well with everyone, with Gary Neville among those to criticise.
However, that approach shows no signs of abating with Boehly preparing to hand Graham Potter a sizeable January warchest.
And despite claims he may already be facing the sack, Potter is planning ahead for what will likely be a busy winter window.
Now, according to reports, Boehly is already recommending to Potter a number of potential transfer options. And top of his list of targets is a Leeds player who appears to be improving with experience.
Per French outlet MediaFoot, Boehly is dreaming of raiding Leeds for their outstanding young keeper Illan Meslier.
The Frenchman, 22, has played a leading role since usurping Kiko Casilla as No 1 almost three years ago. Virtually an ever-present for Leeds, Meslier’s performances helped the Yorkshire side stay in the Premier League by the skin of their teeth last season.
Chelsea plotting big move for Illan Meslier
This time around, Meslier’s displays have raised another level. And he’s been one of the more consistent performers for Jesse Marsch’s side, who currently sit 15th.
Indeed, he was named Man of the Match as Leeds beat Liverpool 2-1 in October. That night, Meslier made nine saves. That helped Leeds become the first side to win a Premier League game in front of an Anfield crowd since the 2016/17 season.
And TEAMtalk sources recently revealed that Meslier is on a three-man Tottenham wishlist as they seek a successor to Hugo Lloris.
He’s also reportedly been watched by Barcelona too as they ponder life after Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
However, they may be beaten to the punch by Chelsea, who are also preparing a move of their own.
Per the report, an approach from the Blues for Meslier could arrive as soon as next month. However, it is likely Chelsea may wait until the summer before making their move. That will allow Potter more time to assess the two senior keepers already on their books.
It does seem though that Boehly sees Meslier as the long-term answer for Chelsea in goal.
Chelsea ready to let Kepa and Mendy leave
Kepa appears to have established himself as their No 1 once again this season. That’s in the wake of a worrying loss of form for Edouard Mendy.
Senegal keeper Mendy has not looked the same since a catastrophic error at Elland Road gifted Brenden Aaronson a goal in August.
However, Boehly seemingly doubts either have what it takes over the long term. And the duo, who cost a combined £90m, will reportedly be put up for sale to make room for Meslier.
Leeds, of course, would be loathe to lose their No 1. And given they allowed two prized assets in Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips to leave last summer, letting Meslier depart would not go down well.
However, Leeds are reportedly eyeing one of the best goalkeepers at the World Cup finals as a prospective successor.