Ask anyone around Leeds United, and they will tell you that the club is in a tough place. The loss of club legend Marcelo Bielsa was tough, and the bedding in period for American coach Jesse Marsch has been troubling to say the least. However, the season has started decently, with four points from two games – games that, last year, might have produced zero points. A vulnerability still exists in the team, and many fans put that down to the lack of experience in some key areas – especially goalkeeper.
You would need to search far and wide to find a Leeds fan who does not like Illan Meslier. The Frenchman has performed admirably when called upon, and has stood up to the test left in front of him. However, some would like to see a more experienced player come in to either compete or replace Meslier. That being said, few fans would want to see him sold or moved on from the club.
Fewer still would be happy to comply with reports that rivals Manchester United are keen to buy the keeper. The Red Devils have watched current first choice David de Gea make a fool of himself in both opening games. With the fact they have loaned out first choice competitor Dean Henderson, who clearly believes in himself to a rather questionable level, Manchester United are short on quality and depth in nets.
Current no. 1 de Gea has had a habit of looking dreadful for periods, before returning to form in some capacity. The Red Devils, though, are believed to be keen to buy a goalkeeper who can actually play with their feet without playing neck-height passes that put teammates in danger. From that perspective, interest in Meslier makes sense.
Leeds laugh off bid, unlikely to sell this summer
Reports around the club suggest that Man Utd turned up with a pitiful valuation for the player. Given the way they have done business this year – publicly without any meaningful success – it should come as no surprise their bid was rejected. Leeds would be daft to do business with the enemy unless the fee was completely in their favour. Instead, their Mancunian rivals putting in a bid that would struggle to have picked up a backup keeper, never mind a proven number one, has simply steeled the resolve within the club to say no.
With talk that Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha could both end up at Old Trafford, Leeds fans will be desperate to do nothing to help out their old foe. Meslier is someone who, while raw, has immense potential. Unless the fee brought in would help Leeds to go and buy three or four key additions on top of a goalkeeper, selling him to Manchester was never a starter.
Besides, watching them flail around struggle is fun for everyone in the league. Why would Leeds, even taking the rivalry aside, want to help Manchester United turn around their hilarious form?