Leeds United might have to stave off January interest for one of their key assets this summer, but they seem to have a capable replacement lined up either way…
With Manuel Neuer ruled out for the season following a skiing injury, the Bavarian giants are looking for his long-term replacement and could turn to the Frenchman.
Whilst losing their talismanic shot-stopper might upset the Elland Road faithful, perhaps it could facilitate a transfer domino effect which would benefit the Yorkshire club.
Having signed permanently in 2020, Meslier has established himself as one of Leeds’ most important players given their philosophy.
The 22-year-old is often called upon more than most Premier League ‘keepers, and yet he shows an alertness, speed and maturity which belies his youth.
During the Whites’ relegation-threatened 2021/22 campaign, he made the most saves (143) of any goalkeeper in the Premier League by some distance. He also ranks joint-sixth in the division this season for sweeper clearances made, outlining his importance to Jesse Marsch’s playing style.
Journalist Joe Donnohue even suggested that Meslier boasted a “rock solid” mentality, noting: “What’s always struck me about Illan Meslier is an ability to put wobbles & missteps behind him immediately. A really underrated attribute…”.
However, in Livakovic, Leeds would be gaining a goalkeeper boasting far more experience who clearly has the ability to bail out his team when needed. This was no better exemplified than in Qatar, where he announced himself as one of the tournament’s outstanding players.
Boasting a 7.33 average rating, he earned a 78% save success rate as he made 25 stops in just seven games (via Sofascore).
His display against Brazil was particularly outstanding as he made 11 saves to keep Croatia in the game, before thwarting Rodrygo during the penalty shootout as they knocked out the pre-tournament favourites in sensational fashion.
Now widely regarded as the World Cup “hero” that writer Sacha Pisani labelled him, the 6 foot 2 goliath could boast a more than capable replacement at Leeds for Meslier, who may be destined for bigger things.