Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has been lauded for his ability to coach and improve players throughout his career in the game.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola called him the best coach ‘in the world’ and revealed the respect he has for the Leeds man.
His coaching has been clear for all to see at Elland Road, taking the club from being in the Championship to competing in the Premier League, and he has improved several players along the way. One player he has helped progress at Leeds is goalkeeper Illan Meslier.
The Frenchman joined the club on loan at the start of the 2019/20 Championship season as Bielsa looked to bring in a back-up to Kiko Casilla. He ended up playing ten matches in the division that year as the Whites claimed the second-tier crown, keeping seven clean sheets and conceding four goals in that time.
Leeds then signed him on a permanent deal from Lorient in the summer of 2020 and Transfermarkt valued him at £4.05m. Bielsa made Meslier his number one and put his faith in the youngster for the 2020/21 Premier League campaign and it paid off as kept 11 clean sheets in 35 outings as the club avoided relegation back down to the second-tier.
“It was ridiculous [a save from Maja] and he’s pulled off quite a few like that, which I think is the sort of thing that marks him out as massive goalkeeping talent.
“He’s so young that there are parts of his game which are going to have to improve, aerially particularly, I think that’s quite apparent to everybody, but he is only 21.
“That is a young age for a footballer, generally, but a very, very young age for a goalkeeper – the potential in him is vast.”
At the time of writing (04/10/21), Transfemarkt value Meslier at £18m. This is a whopping 344% increase in one year of football for Meslier. This shows how much progress he has made during his time in England and proves that Bielsa was right to ditch Casilla and go with him as his first-choice goalkeeper.
It has been a coaching masterclass from Bielsa, which is proven by Meslier’s exponential increase in value under his management. Hopefully, the Argentine coach will be able to continue improving the French youth international further as Leeds attempt to climb the Premier League table.