Leeds have learnt that they have until mid-May to complete the permanent £5m signing of Illan Meslier from Lorient if they want to avoid being embroiled in a potential summer scramble for the keeper.
The young Frenchman moved to Elland Road last summer on a season-long loan but had to wait until the FA Cup third-round clash at Arsenal in early January to make his debut for the club.
That was because Kiko Casilla was firmly established as Leeds’ No 1, but the Spanish keeper’s eight-match ban on a racism charge, meant understudy Meslier was thrust into the limelight.
However, Meslier has not disappointed with the keeper keeping two clean sheets in his two Championship starts to date – the 4-0 win at Hull and the 2-0 home success over Huddersfield last time out – making him the first keeper to keep successive clean sheets in his first two games for the club since Ian Bennett back in season 2005/06.
Leeds have the option to make his deal a permanent one for £5million but rather than the summer, as previously claimed, a report in Football Insider actually states that deadline must be activated by mid-May.
As per the report, failure to activate the transfer by the unspecified date will see Leeds renege on the deal and lose their exclusivity option on the talented 20-year-old, who stands at 6ft 6in.
The deal, however, is unlikely to prove problematic for Leeds and the Championship leaders are said to be in “advanced talks” with his parent club over triggering that move.
“His distribution is excellent although he’s not shown that in the first two games that he’s played.
“He’s not been tested either but he’s got the clean sheets, which will build his confidence up.
“You look at his clean sheets and his stature and there’s absolutely no reason why he can’t grow into the player that everyone at the club knows he can be.
“If that carries on until the end of the season then I see it being a formality that he signs on a permanent deal and he could be a real bargain.”
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