Leeds United are not concerned about the idea of selling Illan Meslier in the January transfer window, despite the goalkeeper explaining why he has stuck with the club beyond their relegation from the Premier League.
Meslier was expected to leave Leeds after they dropped back into the Championship, but he ultimately did not become part of their mass exodus of players. Instead, he has remained a regular starter in their new era under the management of Daniel Farke.
That hasn’t exactly been music to the ears of Karl Darlow, who joined Leeds from Newcastle in the summer expecting to succeed Meslier as no.1. After being a backup for Newcastle over the past couple of years and only really getting a run of games on loan at Hull City between January and June this year, it has become a frustrating situation for Darlow already.
But Football Insider is now reporting that Leeds would still be willing to listen to offers for Meslier in January, since even they thought Darlow would be arriving to replace him.
Although they still have Meslier under contract until 2026, the report says they will be ‘relaxed’ if a club comes in for him during the winter transfer window.
That’s because Leeds are fully comfortable with the idea of installing Darlow as their next first-choice goalkeeper. Therefore, Meslier might be able to move clubs in the new year if anyone develops a firm interest and meets an asking price that has stood between £20m and £25m since the summer.
Meslier explains Leeds stay
Nevertheless, the Frenchman has explained to the Leeds United Official Podcast why he would have felt ‘guilty’ about leaving the club just because they were no longer in the Premier League.
Meslier said: “You know sometimes, it’s difficult to leave when the club is going down, because of course you feel inside, you feel guilty because I played most of the games, and unfortunately the results were not good.
“I think also it wasn’t good for me maybe to leave and just let the club be in the second division, and you go to play somewhere and see them in the middle of the second division, and think ‘oh no, you contributed to this result’.
“So I think the best for me personally was like, okay, stay and play with big performances and try to put Leeds in the first two places (automatic promotion), and let’s see after.”
In contrast to Meslier’s stance, many players jumped ship when Leeds went down, in some cases activating clauses in their contracts to facilitate loan exits.
Meslier has stuck around for a fifth season with Leeds – and second in the Championship, having previously been part of the group that won promotion in the first place back in 2020 – but it remains to be seen if he will complete it, depending on what unfolds in January.
Still only 23 years old, he has previously insisted that playing time remains important to him and will have to be a factor if the time comes for him to move on.