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Illan Meslier can be Chelsea’s next Cech

Chelsea have reportedly identified Leeds United’s Illan Meslier as the long-term successor to the shot-stopping throne at the club, with a transfer move potentially forthcoming…

What’s the word?

Chelsea boss Graham Potter is seemingly unsatisfied with his goalkeeping options in Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga – who cost an exorbitant £71.6m from Athletic Bilbao – and is scouring the market for a long-term first-choice deployment in the role.

And according to French publication RMC Sport, the Blues’ technical director Christopher Vivell is set to rival affluent divisional rivals Newcastle United in forging a transfer for the 22-year-old shot-stopping prodigy, who is also wanted by German giants Bayern Munich following an extensive injury layoff for Manuel Neuer suffered in a skiing accident this winter.

Meslier joined the Lilywhites on a permanent deal from French outfit Lorient in 2020, since going from strength to strength and establishing himself as the unwavering No 1. and one of the most exciting young goalkeeping prospects in world football.

Blues’ next Cech

Signing for Leeds while they still floundered in the EFL Championship, the Frenchman has since risen to the fore and cemented his place within the top-flight outfit’s starting set-up, making 106 appearances and keeping 28 clean sheets.

And having been an ever-present force between the sticks this term, playing every single Premier League minute, Meslier is indeed blossoming into a formidable presence despite his tender age.

Should the £31m-rated phenom sign for Chelsea, he would bering shot-stopping prowess, having made the most saves of any goalkeeper in the Premier League with an impressive 143, a veritable wall in the fight against relegation, pivotal in steering his club towards survival, with Leeds indeed finishing 17th, just three points off the dreaded drop-zone.

Making 494 appearances for the west London outfit, winning scores of major honours – including four Premier League titles and one Champions League triumph – and keeping 228 clean sheets at a remarkable rate of 46.1%.

While Meslier cannot boast clean sheet statistics quite as formidable as the Czech legend thus far, his shot-stopping ability certainly alludes to a promising career in the mould of one of the Premier League’s most esteemed players throughout its history.

Should Chelsea move for Illan Meslier?

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Yes

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And the season prior, his club’s first in the top-flight since the 03/04 campaign, Meslier dazzled with 140 saves, illustrating his consistency in repelling the opposing threat.

As per Sofascore, the “rare talent” – as hailed by The Athletic’s Leeds correspondent Phil Hay – has recorded ratings of 7.13 (20/21), 6.87 (21/22), and 6.88 (22/23) during his time in top-flight English football, still holding a respectable rating since his emphatic first season, despite his club’s dip in results and performance.

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Cesc Fabregas in action for Chelsea

How much did Chelsea pay to sign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona, 2014?

He could indeed emulate legendary shot-stopper Cech, and as he nurtures his ability with age, also developing the leadership and composure required to truly flourish at a club competing for major honours across multiple fronts – like Chelsea – he will grow into his own, taking the baton from a former icon and finally gifting Stamford Bridge the presence in between the sticks that it yearns for.