This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Leeds’ deadline day didn’t spark too much by the way of incomings but one player who did arrive was Illan Meslier.
The Whites sold Bailey Peacock-Farrell earlier in the window and therefore seeking competition for Kiko Casilla was going to be crucial.
The latter arrived in January and quickly took over the mantle from the younger Peacock-Farrell but was particularly poor in the playoffs for Leeds.
Whether he’ll be ousted by a new arrival, however, remains to be seen.
Meslier walks through the doors with what appears to be a heavy reputation.
In France last term he starred for Ligue 2 outfit Lorient, keeping nine clean sheets in 28 matches. At 19 years of age, he’s very much one for the future and could yet become a permanent fixture at Elland Road after an option to buy was included in the loan deal.
Yet, despite being a regular in France as a teenager, his arrival in England should be met with caution and he must be given time to settle in.
The fact is, that this move could go horribly wrong unless he improves in one major department.
Back in November 2018, Lionel Rouxel, the goalkeeper’s coach at U17 level for his country, told Goal: “He still has details to improve on his positioning and his communication.”
For a ‘keeper, speaking to your defenders is everything, particularly for a side who already have question marks about their defence lingering from pre-season.
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However, if he doesn’t improve his communication, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to boster Leeds at the back.
He will likely have elevated his communication qualities since being introduced to regular first-team football but in a foreign league and in a different environment, talking will be imperative.
Football is a universal game but this could be a sticking point for Meslier unless he improves quickly.
Having the experienced Casilla to learn from should help, but it goes without saying there is an element of risk to this deal.