Leeds United will reportedly turn their attention towards a quality La Liga based goalkeeper amid surprise claims over the future of current No 1 Illan Meslier.
The Whites are currently embroiled in a nine-team battle for survival in the Premier League. And while they have generally enjoyed some improved results under the management of new boss Javi Gracia, Sunday’s 5-1 home thumping to Crystal Palace left them firmly in the mire.
As it stands they currently sit just two points clear of the drop zone. And with Liverpool at home to come on Monday evening, Leeds could find themselves back in the relegation places before kick off.
The defeat to Palace was especially frustrating given Leeds had dominated the first half. However, with just Patrick Bamford’s goal to show for their efforts, Roy Hodgson’s side were able to claw themselves level on the stroke of half-time.
That goal came after Marc Guehi was on hand to poke home from close range. But the efforts of Meslier in keeping the effort hitting the net drew widespread condemnation, with Roy Keane among those to criticise.
“The keeper should do better. The goalkeeper should be a little bit braver. He’s got to come out and dominate. But that’s certainly not one of his strengths,” Keane told Sky Sports, when discussing Meslier.
Leeds’ second-half capitulation means Meslier conceded five times from the eight attempts on goal he faced. It now means the Whites have let in 54 goals this season, the joint second worst total in the division.
Despite Leeds’ defensive struggles, Meslier remains highly sought-after.
Leeds consider Yassine Bounou as Meslier successor
Indeed, Chelsea, Barcelona and Tottenham are among the sides to be linked with the player in the past.
However, the strongest interest is likely to come from Tottenham as they seek a long-term successor to Hugo Lloris.
And his countryman, who at 23 recently became the youngest goalkeeper to play 100 times in the Premier League, looks a solid candidate.
Meslier himself recently opened up about the possibility of leaving Elland Road to further his career.
“It would be a mistake to project oneself so far. There are many steps before that: a continuation to be sought with Leeds, the Euro Espoirs [U21 championship] in June,” Meslier told Ouest France.
“To succeed in all of this, I have to be good. Because no one will come looking for me if I am not. And if I am asked, I will take the time to think about my future with a clear head.”
Now reports claim Leeds are already considering potential replacements should Meslier move on this summer.
And reports in Spain, as cited by Sport Witness, claims Sevilla keeper Yassine Bounou is fast emerging as a strong possibility.
The Morocco star enjoyed an outstanding World Cup as his nation made history in reaching the semi-finals.
That form has led to speculation he could be on Manchester United’s list of replacements for David De Gea.
Bono determined to quit Sevilla this summer
However, reports claim it is Leeds who are now very much in the chase for the 32-year-old star.
And they claim the keeper – better known as Bono – is pushing to move to the Premier League this summer.
Indeed, following a season of struggle for the La Liga side, Bounou has now been usurped as the club’s No 1. And latest Sevilla boss Jose Luis Mendilibar’s preference for Marko Dmitrovic in goal is likely to lead to Bono’s exit.
Per the report, Bounou’s new bench role has ‘exhausted the patience’ of the player. Furthermore, in what is described as ‘great news’ for Leeds, he is not ‘willing to assume this new role’.
And with Bono’s deal expiring in summer 2024, a move to Leeds is seemingly seen as the ideal solution.
And with Bono ‘looking for an exit destination’, it seems they will not stand in his way.
Any move for Bounou, of course, depends what division Leeds find themselves in next season. However, regardless of whether Leeds retain their Premier League status, interest is likely to persist in Meslier.