Phil Hay has dropped a big hint on one of Victor Orta’s potential Leeds United transfer targets this summer.
In a recent Q&A on The Athletic, the Leeds United correspondent revealed that there is an internal discussion currently ongoing at Elland Road regarding the signing of a more experienced backup option for first-choice goalkeeper Illan Meslier – with Orta believed to be tempted by the idea of a move for a new shot-stopper this summer.
In response to a question asking whether – following a shaky campaign between the sticks – the France U21 international could see his position as the Whites’ number one come under threat upon the signing of a new ‘keeper, Hay replied:
“No, Meslier wasn’t flawless but I think it’s absolutely the right decision to continue pushing him as the No 1.
“There is a discussion going on at Leeds at the moment about what to do with their goalkeeping ranks. They’re tempted to bring in a more experienced No 2, someone to sit behind Meslier and ahead of 21-year-old Kristoffer Klaesson. It’s something to keep an eye on.”
While it is undeniable that Meslier is a talent who boasts an incredible amount of potential for future development, the fact that Leeds shipped an enormous 79 goals in the Premier League last season – with only bottom of the table Norwich City conceding more – cannot be avoided.
And, while the 22-year-old is not solely to blame for the Whites’ extremely worrying defensive record in 2021/22, it would be a difficult argument to make that the signing of an experienced second choice goalkeeper would not be a sensible addition for Orta to make this summer.
Indeed, this would provide the £18m-rated Frenchman with much greater competition for his starting spot in Jesse Marsch’s side – something that typically increases performance levels – while the former FC Lorient starlet would also be likely benefit from the input and advice of a player who is longer in the tooth.
Furthermore, should the £41k-per-week shot-stopper find himself going through a rough patch of form – as he did in December, March and May this season – being taken out of the firing line for a couple of matches would almost certainly help the youngster get back on his feet more quickly.
As such, the signing of a new number two would very much appear to be an intelligent deal for Orta to pursue this summer, with Hay’s update sure to be news that the Elland Road faithful will love.