Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Leeds Utd punt on ex-Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles, as Marsch plugs gap telegraphed in press conference

Real Betis goalkeeper Joel Robles

Leeds United will sign former Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles in the coming days in a move that could conclude their summer business, per reports.

Speaking in his press conference on Thursday, Whites boss Jesse Marsch addressed any upcoming transfer plans.

“I’m already excited about what’s been done,” said the American. “I’ve expressed daily my appreciation for his support in carrying out our plans with investment.”

He added: “We are trying to be prudent. We were very sure in every transfer we attacked and now we are evaluating the squad closely with what we still need.”

Asked if the money is there, he added: “I think every manager wants more money (laughs). We will be intelligent with what we do.”

One area of concern Marsch did address was the lack of experience between the sticks.

Illan Meslier is the undisputed No 1 with Kristoffer Klaesson his chief back-up. However, the pair are 22 and 21 respectively and veteran Kiko Casilla saw his contract terminated by mutual consent last week.

Asked if Leeds may sign a new goalkeeper, Marsch said: “Yes, there’s an argument for that. Marcos [Abad Peidro – Leeds’ goalkeeping coach] has created a good environment with the goalkeepers.

“Everyone has to be clear with what the role is. That needs to strengthen us rather than create friction. We’re close to a decision on that.”

According to the Yorkshire Evening Post, the decision Marsch spoke of may already have been made.

They report former Toffees stopper, Joel Robles, ‘is set to join’ Leeds in the ‘next week’.

The 32-year-old is a free agent after his contract with Real Betis expired this summer. The YEP noted Robles will initially come in as third-choice, though will compete with Klaesson over being the No 2.

No details as to the length of contract or salary on offer were cited, though the article’s author, Graham Smyth, is adamant the free agent pick-up will occur.

What will Joel Robles bring?

Robles first became known to English audiences during a loan spell at Wigan Athletic in 2013.

He displaced Ali Al-Habsi as the No 1 before keeping a clean sheet in the Latics’ FA Cup final victory over Man City.

However, Wigan’s relegation to the Championship ensured a permanent deal couldn’t be made, leaving the door ajar for Everton to pounce.

After five years on Merseyside, Robles returned to his native Spain upon joining Betis in 2018.

He was the regular starter in the 2019-20 campaign, though fell down the order in subsequent seasons.

Nonetheless, he possesses a wealth of experience and will have no trouble re-adapting to the Premier League if called upon.

Given the move won’t cost a transfer fee and the fact Leeds needed vital experience on the books, the deal looks a handy and risk-free piece of business.