Leeds United

Leeds United


Leeds identify World Cup hero as preferred replacement for valuable asset attracting Man Utd, Chelsea

Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic celebrating with Dominik Livakovic

Leeds United have been linked with one of the most prominent players of Croatia’s World Cup campaign to replace a regular starter.

Croatia are aiming to reach a second consecutive World Cup final after getting past Japan and Brazil in the knockout stage so far. On each occasion, they advanced after a penalty shootout. Now, Argentina stand in their way of reaching the final.

Just like in 2018, several of their players have caught the eye. One of the most noticeable has been Dominik Livakovic, the goalkeeper who saved penalties in both shootouts.

Livakovic was responsible for keeping out three Japan efforts and one from Brazil. In both fixtures, he won the player of the match award.

Now, according to Media Foot, Leeds have identified him as a possible target for 2023.

The Premier League side would be moving for the Dinamo Zagreb shot-stopper in the event of their own number one, Illan Meslier, departing.

Meslier has been linked with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. The 22-year-old could become a long-term successor to either Hugo Lloris or David de Gea depending on the destination.

Spurs do not get a mention by Media Foot, but Man Utd are – and the same goes for Chelsea. In that case, there are doubts over the long-term futures of Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Hence, quite a few options are available to Meslier, who is under contract in West Yorkshire until 2026.

Livakovic could step into Leeds role

If he does leave, Leeds will have to find a new first-choice goalkeeper. It seems unlikely at this stage that either Joel Robles or Kristoffer Klaesson would step up into the starting berth.

Therefore, the report claims Leeds have their eyes on Livakovic as the man to replace Meslier when the time comes. Five years his senior, the Croatian hero could bring a degree of reliability to the Elland Road goal.

Of course, it would be his first experience of playing for a club in the Premier League – or anywhere outside Croatia, for that matter.

However, he has been showing his ability under pressure on the world stage. Therefore, he might be a suitable successor to Meslier.

And work might already be underway, with the French source suggesting Leeds have already made contact with the agency that represents Livakovic.

Only under contract with Dinamo Zagreb until 2024, he could leave his current club if an offer above €10million (£8.6million) arrives.

Perhaps slightly optimistic amid his rise to prominence at the World Cup, it would be an affordable valuation for Leeds, who might be able to make more money from selling Meslier. Therefore, signing Livakovic could be good business.

Only time will tell if they make any more progress regarding a potential deal for the 39-cap Croatian.

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