Illan Meslier, the Leeds goalkeeper, ‘rejected Chelsea’ after the Blues’ transfer proposal was accepted.
Illan Meslier has established himself as Leeds’ number one goalkeeper, but the Frenchman was on the verge of joining Chelsea before moving to Elland Road…
Illan Meslier has disclosed that he turned down the chance to join Chelsea in the summer of 2018 after the Blues had a bid accepted for the goalkeeper. After securing a permanent move to Elland Road last summer following a successful loan spell with Lorient, the 21-year-old had a fantastic debut season in the Premier League with Leeds.
Meslier started 35 of the club’s 38 games upon their promotion to the Premier League, keeping 11 clean sheets in the process.
Despite the fact that Meslier has yet to finish his physical development, Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa has no doubt that he is one of Europe’s top young goalkeepers.
However, following considerable scouting during his time with Lorient, Leeds were not the only team to recognize his world-class potential.
Monaco reportedly made a £10 million approach for his services in 2018, but Meslier refused to leave Les Merlus without having played in the first team after spending nine years in the club’s development.
Chelsea then approached Lorient, who were willing to sell the player in response to the Blues’ overtures.
In an interview with The Athletic, Meslier has revealed how he turned down the current European champions.
“After agreeing with Lorient, Chelsea inquired, ‘Are you ready?’ But it was still 24 hours until the window closed,” he explained.
“I answered, ‘No, man, it’s too late!’ I might have said yes if you had arrived one or two weeks earlier. I’m sorry, but I’m unable to sign for you at this time.’
“It was a difficult choice to make. Chelsea is a major club. ‘Why not (go)?’ you might question.
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“However, there are a lot of keepers at Chelsea’s academy; it’s really difficult to progress there, and sometimes you have to sign and go on loan, stuff like that.
“I believe it is preferable to work at your club and then sign to be a No. 1 at the age of 24, 25. “Not at the age of eighteen.”
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