Leeds United would be making a major mistake by signing Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco as Illan Meslier’s potential replacement.
Reports in recent days and weeks have suggested that West Ham are interested in signing Meslier this summer, while Kiko Casilla’s long-term future at Elland Road is also in question after being dropped from the match-day squad last time out in the Premier League.
Now, Spanish publication El Gol Digital claim that Southampton have joined Leeds in the race to sign Pacheco this summer, and that he could be available for around £8m – a fee the report claims Marcelo Bielsa’s side would actually look to negotiate.
While it’s claimed that Leeds could try to bring that £8m fee down, Pacheco’s reported £50k-a-week wages would surely prove to be a major stumbling block – even if he were to accept the same money that he’s currently on at Alaves, that would put him among the Whites’ highest-earners, with only Rodrigo earning more.
That in itself would have Andrea Radrizzani concerned about coughing up a decent transfer fee and sizeable wages on a goalkeeper, but then when you look at just how poor of a player Pacheco has been this season, then the Leeds owner may be fuming about the club’s reported transfer target.
The Spaniard is part of a back-line that has conceded 42 goals in La Liga this season, the second-worst record in the entire division. While the defenders in front of him may bear some responsibility for that, Pacheco himself has hardly covered himself in glory.
When you compare his key goalkeeping metrics with that of Meslier, it just doesn’t stand up at all. Leeds’ shot-stopper has a far greater save percentage at 71.6% to 62.2%, while the Frenchman also has a better ratio of saving shots that are considered expected goals – Pacheco’s numbers in that stat are actually in the minus.
Pacheco also has that worrying knack of having some truly brain-fade moments – just last summer he had one monumental howler and lapse of judgment when he was sent off against Espanyol after flying out of his area and catching the ball well outside of his area.
Given the transfer fee, bumper wages, and the sheer fact he appears to be even worse than Meslier, Victor Orta appears to be making a major mistake by targeting Pacheco, and it’s a move that won’t have Radrizzani smiling whatsoever if Leeds splash the cash on the ‘keeper and he plays like he has done in Spain.