Given that it’s his first season at Premier League level, there’s no questioning Illan Meslier is proving himself to be a real bargain for Leeds United.
Reports have suggested that the Yorkshire club paid just £5m to sign him on a long-term deal – virtually nothing when you think of the huge amounts of money that gets thrown about in the modern market.
And, speaking on The Inside Elland Road Podcast, The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Graham Smyth said: “He’s been great, hasn’t he? For a 20-year-old, for £5m, I mean Victor Orta – it feels almost illegal what he’s done getting a player of that quality at that age for £5m, remarkable business.”
With a total of nine clean sheets to his name in the top-flight, Meslier currently ranks joint-sixth among all goalkeepers in the Premier League, and that despite playing for a side who have come to be known for their attacking style of play.
The young Frenchman’s ability with his feet has always been one of his standout attributes, with former Whites striker Jermaine Beckford raving: “The kid is incredible. I was watching the game (against Everton) and there were a couple of moments, (Dominic) Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and James (Rodriguez) had chances, but Meslier stood in their way. His distribution is one of the best in the Premier League.”
Meslier’s willingness to come for crosses and take the pressure of his defenders has also been raved about by former England goalkeeper David James, who said earlier this calendar year: “Meslier – I love him. I went on social media, I was watching a game and he went for about 10 crosses (v Burnley), he carried on coming for crosses.
“The commentators were battering him. I was thinking ‘the guy is still coming’, and as soon as the whistle went, the camera was panning but you could see all the defenders going up to him. That is quality.”
His performances in the Premier League have now seen his value shoot up, with CIES now rating him at a mammoth £26m.
And, with reports in recent weeks and months suggesting that Meslier’s performances have attracted transfer interest from Premier League side West Ham, Leeds surely stand to make a massive profit on the French starlet if they ever did decide to cash in.
That kind of buy low, sell high margin will be music to the ears of Andrea Radrizzani, who will know that his club are in the driving seat to demand a big fee from the Hammers if the London club firm up their interest this summer with an official bid.
Make no mistake about it, Victor Orta delivered a masterclass by landing Meslier so cheaply.