West Ham linked with Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier - The Verdict

Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier

West Ham are watching Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier with interest, Football Insider reports.

French shot-stopper Meslier joined Leeds United on a permanent basis last summer, signing for Marcelo Bielsa’s side for £5.85m.

This season, the 21-year-old goalkeeper has kept eight clean sheets and recorded a save percentage of 72.3%.

According to Football Insider, Meslier has now caught the eye of West Ham United, with the east London side reportedly keeping tabs on the 6 foot 6 Leeds No.1.

The Hammers' current go-to man between the sticks Lukasz Fabianski is turning 36 next month and will be out of contract this summer, although the club have the option of a one-year extension.

Likewise, West Ham’s second-string goalkeeper Darren Randolph will soon be turning 34 - so clearly some young blood is needed in the goalkeeping department. 

21-year-old Meslier has featured in 25 of Leeds’ 26 Premier League games this season and has  adapted well to life in the English top-flight.

This was particularly evident in his performances against Everton and Burnley, when he kept a clean sheet and was named Man of the Match on both occasions by Whoscored.

But would the Frenchmen be a success at the London Stadium?

GIVEMESPORT’s Tom Kelly, Sam Brookes, Josh Cole and Jonathan Gorrie provide their responses to that question below - all statistics correct prior to this weekend's Premier League action.

Tom Kelly

“Fabianski has been an outstanding servant since his arrival in 2018, however, retirement is surely not too far off for the Polish goalkeeper and it’s important for David Moyes to begin to plan for life without his current number one.

“The Leeds United goalkeeper would be a fantastic replacement for Fabianski based on his form this season. Meslier has recorded a higher save percentage than his Hammers counterpart and has also been forced to make 32 more saves.

“In fact, only Sam Johnstone, Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale have made more saves than the 21-year-old this season, which further illustrates the point that the Frenchman is already a reliable pair of hands with the potential to further improve.”

Sam Brookes

"The phrase 'if it isn't broke, don’t fix it' comes to mind here.

"Meslier has had a promising start to life in England, making the fourth-most saves in the top-flight this season with 90. However, he has also made two errors which have directly led to a goal being scored, illustrating that he is far from the finished article.

"Meanwhile, Lukasz Fabianski has remained a reliable presence in goal for the Hammers and is yet to make an error leading to a goal this term. Some may point to the fact that he is now in his mid-thirties, but he is yet to show any signs of regression. There is no reason for West Ham to look elsewhere after his important contribution to their excellent campaign.

"Meslier is clearly talented but still has plenty of maturing to do before he reaches his full potential. The Irons would be better served sticking with Fabianski for now and revisiting the situation somewhere down the line."

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Whose career is this?

Josh Cole 

"Signing Meslier could turn out to be a shrewd move by West Ham United if they can convince the Frenchman to leave Leeds United this summer.

"A key component of a Leeds side which has provided endless entertainment in the Premier League this season, the goalkeeper has produced a number of eye-catching displays for Marcelo Bielsa's boys in recent months.

"With questions surrounding Lukasz Fabianksi's future due to the fact that the Poland international's existing deal at the club expires in June, Meslier may be a viable replacement - he is currently averaging a solid WhoScored match rating of 6.8.

"Having already adjusted to life in the Premier League by making 25 appearances for Leeds in which he has kept eight clean-sheets, the shot-stopper could become a mainstay in West Ham's starting eleven for the foreseeable future if they opt to swoop for him now."

Jonathan Gorrie 

"Meslier has proven to be an excellent shot-stopper despite his young age.

"Boasting the seventh-highest save percentage in the Premeir League via FBRef, the Frenchman looks to be setting himself up for a long career at the top level. So yes - he does look like a good signing for West Ham.

"Still, Leeds are embarking on an upward trajectory under a highly-regarded manager and are under no real need to sell. As good as the Irons' season has been, it's not as if their current option between the sticks is in desperate need of upgrading.

"In fact, Lukasz Fabianski has the fifth-highest clean sheet percentage in England's elite division himself, so it's hard to suggest there is a need to replace him right away. 

"Given the scale of finance likely involved considering Leeds only signed Meslier permanently last summer, West Ham should focus on other areas and extend Fabianski's contract by another year instead."

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