Lorient manager Christophe Pelissier has told Le Telegramme that he is “disappointed” Illan Meslier chose to join Leeds United on a season-long loan, rather than remain at Lorient and become the first-team goalkeeper.
Leeds sold Bailey Peacock-Farrell to Premier League side Burnley in the summer for £3.5million, meaning Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds had to bring in a new goalkeeper. The surprise choice of France youth international Meslier came in on loan.
Before joining Leeds, Meslier had clocked up 30 senior matches for Lorient – keeping 10 clean sheets and conceding just 32 goals. The goalkeeper had been on the shortlist of many European sides, with some reports claiming Chelsea were an admirer.
Speaking two months after the player had signed on at Elland Road, Pelissier stated he was “disappointed” that Meslier had chosen to leave Lorient in favour of Leeds – claiming he could have become first choice had he remained.
“For me, he would have progressed. Especially since this is the first time I had given a second choice keeper the assurance to play the Coupe de la Ligue and the Coupe de France. Which I never do,” Pelissier said.
“For me, in the face of the obstacle, there are two types of attitude, confronting or bypassing it. He has bypassed it. Perhaps he is right, we will see the rest of his career. But as a coach, I was surprised and disappointed.”
TBR’s view – Did Meslier make the right decision to join Leeds?
Meslier is yet to make his senior debut for Leeds. With that alarming fact, Pelissier is right. Meslier has made a mistake in joining Leeds, and the injury to Pablo Hernandez sees the Frenchman failing to even make the 18.
The loan rule means Leeds can only have five loan players in the matchday squad. With Hernandez injured, Tottenham loanee Jack Clarke has come into the side, meaning Meslier has had to make way.
He could have been playing senior football on a regular basis at Lorient, but instead he is on the sidelines at Leeds.