Director of Football Victor Orta has informed FC Lorient that Leeds United will activate our option to buy Illan Meslier this summer, according to Football Insider.
Orta is willing to push on and purchase the young Frenchman in the next transfer window irrespective of how the 2019/20 season will finish, given the ongoing havoc caused by the coronavirus outbreak that has seen all professional football in England put on hold until, at least, April 3.
Meslier has only been awarded three first-team outings by Marcelo Bielsa since moving to Elland Road on a temporary deal, with the boss opting to entrust Kiko Casilla in each of our Championship games prior to the Spaniard’s suspension.
Meslier has stepped in to Casilla’s role comfortably in recent weeks by keeping clean sheets against Hull City and Huddersfield Town, and would have been due an extended spell between the sticks with the 33-year-old’s suspension still having six games to run.
But the uncertainty over when United will be back in action – and in what division with the pause in play bringing up question marks over our promotion hopes – is not thought to be a hindrance in Meslier forging a permanent move.
Orta is believed to have informed Lorient that we will be taking up our £5million option on 6 ft 5 talent, which would have become obligatory upon promotion into the Premier League.
The club have been ‘hugely impressed’ by what Meslier has produced when called on by Bielsa, and have no doubts in the 20-year-old’s ability to play at the top level.
Who should be our #1 when both are available?
Orta moving to complete the permanent signing of Meslier with the youngster only playing three first-team games will come as a huge confidence boost for him when the season eventually – if at all – recommences.
That lift in confidence knowing the club have the utmost confidence in your ability could see Meslier go on and stake his claim to the outright number one jersey, and displace Casilla before the Spaniard has a chance to reply.
Previous reports have suggested that the club see Meslier as the long-term option in goal over Casilla, and that decision could come sooner than either anticipated.
In other Leeds United news, the club are on the lookout for the ideal summer signing to strengthen Bielsa in whatever league we are competing in.