Leeds United are considering a move to bring a backup goalkeeper to Elland Road this summer.
In a recent report for The Athletic, Phil Hay revealed that, with Victor Orta having already made a number of additions to Jesse Marsch’s first-team squad this summer, the Spanish director of football and his Leeds transfer team are also discussing the possibility of a move to bring a recognised number two to the club in the coming weeks – with one shot-stopper reported to be of interest to the Whites being the out of contract Ben Foster.
In his article, the journalist wrote: “Leeds have spoken about sourcing a more experienced second-choice goalkeeper but that would be a more peripheral signing, a move that made no material difference to their strongest line-up on paper. Their plan is a long way down the line, so far avoiding the risk that a busy and delicate window becomes messy or gets out of hand.”
While it is undeniable that Illan Meslier will remain as Marsch’s first-choice goalkeeper heading into the 2022/23 campaign, with the relatively unproven Kristoffer Klaesson as the 48-year-old’s only realistic backup to the France U21 international, it would indeed appear an extremely wise move for Orta to bring in an experienced option in the position this summer.
And, while he is very much in the twilight of his career at the very top of the English game, considering his availability on a free, coupled with his impressively long career spent in the Premier League, Foster would very much look to make a fantastic addition to the American’s options between the sticks next season.
Indeed, with 390 Premier League appearances and 94 clean sheets under his belt, the £30k-per-week stopper is one of the most experienced ‘keepers still playing the game, enjoying largely successful spells with the likes of Watford, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City and Manchester United in the top flight.
Furthermore, the former Leeds United number one, Paul Robinson, quite clearly believes the 39-year-old who Alexander Abnos dubbed “unreal” would make an excellent addition to Marsch’s side this summer, stating in an interview with MOT Leeds News last month:
“Illan Meslier has been excellent and I think he’s the out-and-out number one simply because he’s got no competition.
“Next season, if he gets injured or suspended, they’ve got no quality number two. And if he has a dip in form – which will happen at some point – the manager’s got no choice but to stick with him and ride it out because he hasn’t got a good enough number two to put in.
“They have to go for a quality one. If you look around the Premier League, the other teams have quality goalkeepers. Everyone carries a top-quality number two who can do the job.
“I heard a link with Ben Foster and I think that would be an outstanding signing if they were able to pull it off. He’s somebody with experience who Meslier can learn from. But he’s also equally as good to step in and play should Meslier not be able to or wasn’t in form. It’s an area they have to address this window.”
Indeed, it is difficult to disagree with the former England stopper’s opinion, as, with Meslier demonstrating last season that he is not immune to a dip in form – something that is only natural for a ‘keeper as young as 21 years of age – the signing of a more experienced pair of gloves ahead of the upcoming Premier League campaign would appear a must for Orta – leading us to believe that Foster on a free would be an outstanding signing for the Spaniard to get over the line in the coming weeks.