Young Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier is being watched by Paris Saint-Germain, according to the player’s agent.
Meslier, 21, has been a real find for the West Yorkshire club and his performances in the Premier League last season were impressive. The former Lorient man made 35 appearances and managed 11 clean sheets, conceding 52 goals as Leeds finished ninth on their return to the top flight.
Meslier was forced into first-team in towards the end of the 2019/20 season when Kiko Casilla was banned. Marcelo Bielsa handed an opportunity to Meslier, who was then on loan from Lorient.
The France Under-21 keeper did not disappoint, helping Leeds get over the Championship finishing line. And his displays in the Premier League have had plenty of admirers from his homeland.
PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino is apparently thinking about a long-term replacement for 34-year-old Keylor Navas.
The former Real Madrid stopper is coming towards the end of his career, although he is under contract in the French capital until 2024.
Meslier is on the radar of the Ligue 1 champions, although a move to France’s premier side so soon in the keeper’s career is unlikely.
Yvon Pouliquen, the agent of Meslier spoke to Le Telegramme, via Sport Witness, in an interview on Sunday.
Pouliquen said: “Paris Saint-Germain are watching, but Illan’s goal is to play. He had his first season in the Premier League.
“He needs to confirm. Going to Paris Saint-Germain to take over from Navas in a year or two and not play, what’s the point? His progression will be greater by playing at Leeds.
“He left Lorient to not sit on a bench. At Leeds, he arrived on the bench, but he played a lot of U23 games before becoming a starter in the Championship and in the Premier League. From the off, he was programmed to be the starter in two years. It just happened quicker.”
It appears the youngster’s allegiance remains with the Elland Road club. The noise from his representative may well be a nudge to Leeds chief Andrea Radrizzani and director of football Victor Orta over his contract.
Meslier: It’s a special club
Meslier has two years to run on the permanent deal he penned last summer. Leeds paid around £5m for the youngster, but his current contract is only worth around £16,500 a week.
There’s certainly no suggestion that Meslier is ready to jump ship at Elland Road. He has also spoken about the love for the Whites, but his agent may just be letting Leeds’ hierarchy know the progress his client has made in such a short time.
“It’s a breath of fresh air, it’s true that I miss the sea, family, friends, it’s a balance. I had not been able to come back [to Merlevenez] since last October. My parents came [to Leeds] for Christmas. I am here since Tuesday to spend my vacations,” said Meslier in the same interview.
“It’s a special club because of its history. It’s a bit like Saint-Etienne and Lens back home.
“There is an exceptional atmosphere in the stadium, with great supporters who like to make noises and sing songs – which I don’t understand – but there are no insults in England. It’s a crazy atmosphere like in Liverpool, Manchester, it gives you the shivers,” he added.