A Leeds Utd journalist has revealed who is the club’s most valuable player following the departures of Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips in the summer.
Raphinha left Elland Road in July as Barcelona paid around £55million to sign him. The winger penned a five-year contract at the Camp Nou and has gone on to play seven times for the Blaugrana, registering a goal and an assist.
Phillips, meanwhile, left boyhood club Leeds for Manchester City. According to the Manchester Evening News, City paid an initial £42m for the central midfielder. The deal could rise to £45m if certain additional clauses are met.
The exits of Raphinha and Phillips came as a massive blow to Leeds. They had been arguably their two most important players over the past few seasons.
However, Jesse Marsch’s side did well to replace the influential duo. They brought in Luis Sinisterra and Brendan Aaronson to replace Raphinha’s attacking threat.
Midfielders Marc Roca and Tyler Adams arrived at Leeds as well, helping to fill the void left by Phillips in midfield. Plus, the Whites captured 18-year-old midfielder Darko Gyabi from City in a £5m transfer, which was separate to Phillips’ move.
Phil Hay, who works for The Athletic as their resident Leeds reporter, believes goalkeeper Illan Meslier has stepped into Raphinha and Phillips’ shoes by becoming the team’s ‘highest value asset’.
He has confirmed several clubs are looking to sign the Frenchman in 2023. Among them are Tottenham, who need a successor for veteran shot-stopper Hugo Lloris.
Phil Hay talks Illan Meslier value
On his Phil Hay Show, the journalist said: “It’s quite interesting of all the clubs that are looking at Meslier, I think it’s fair to say that he now has replaced Raphinha and Phillips as probably the highest value asset in the squad at Leeds.
“If clubs are bidding for everybody at Elland Road, he would command the highest fee.
“It’s quite interesting that Spurs are one of the clubs looking at him as Lloris is getting into his mid-30s now and he is out of contract in 2024 and you would assume that Tottenham would now be looking at a succession plan for him.
“Pretty eventful time for Meslier but this season he has looked better than he ever has and has been a top class goalkeeper.”
Meslier was Leeds’ number one during Marcelo Bielsa’s time at the club and this remains the case under his managerial replacement, Jesse Marsch. In August 11, Marsch said his keeper was already ‘at the highest level’.
Meslier has impressed plenty of scouts since coming to the Premier League. Due to Leeds’ attacking style under Bielsa, he had to face plenty of shots in every game. But he always did well and often kept Leeds in matches where they otherwise would have been out of it.
The 22-year-old has continued to shine under Marsch and is also earning international experience. He has won 10 caps for France U21s so far and could make the senior squad for the Qatar World Cup.
There can be little argument about Meslier being Leeds’ most valuable asset right now. He is already a top keeper who has plenty of time to develop potentially into a world-class one.
It’s no surprise Spurs want to land him, but they will have to pay a major sum to agree a deal with Leeds.