Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier rejected the chance to sign for Chelsea in 2018.
This has been revealed by the Frenchman’s agent who also claims the 21-year-old was also attracting interest from Ligue 1 outfit AS Monaco at the time.
Meslier would end up staying at Lorient for another year before making the move to Leeds – initially on loan before sealing a permanent transfer – while Chelsea ended up signing Kepa Arrizabalaga for £71m after selling Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid in the summer of 2018.
However, things could have been different for Meslier had talks with the Blues reached a concrete stage.
But as revealed by his agent, Xavier Fluery, Chelsea’s plan for Meslier was to sign him and loan him out, something that wasn’t viewed as a good idea by the relevant parties.
“Both me and Illan believed that there was a greater chance of Illan playing in the first team at Lorient than at either Monaco or Chelsea,” Xavier Fleury told the LUFCFANZONE podcast, as per The Sun. “We knew there was a lot of interest but both Monaco and Chelsea wanted Illan for the future.
“For example, although the talks never reached a concrete stage, Chelsea wanted to buy Illan and send him on loan for a number of years.
“Because of this, we thought it wasn’t a good idea because Illan needed to settle at a club and play. This would not have been the case.
“As a goalkeeper, you need to be number one, if you’re not then you can sit on the bench for years.
“To leave for Chelsea or Monaco for more money, but to not play first-team football and to be away from his family was not a good offer for Illan who, at the time, had regular first-team football in his path at Lorient.
“For sure there are some big clubs that are interested and following Illan, but right now he is in Leeds.”
It remains to be seen if the Blues are still interested in Meslier, but transfer chief Marina Granovskaia has been told the one condition that could see the 21-year-old depart Elland Road in the future.
That’s if Leeds are not challenging for trophies.
“He is starting, and that is the bottom line – the most we can ask for. He loves the club, and he has settled in really well,” Fleury added.
In each football.london Chelsea bulletin, we’ll be bringing you the latest breaking news, transfer features and comment pieces, as well as the key talking points for fans.
You won’t miss a single thing when it comes to Chelsea.
We’ll also send special newsletters when big stories break or there’s a special event happening. And with the January transfer window now open there’s plenty of content to get your teeth into.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Chelsea section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
And that’s it, you’re all set.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
For more details, click here.
“I think if Leeds keep the sporting director, the coach, and the players keep improving year after year like they are doing, I think the president (Andrea Radrizzani) could be right and Leeds could be in the Champions League quickly.
“If Leeds are in the Champions League, I think it would be more beautiful for Illan to challenge for trophies at a club like Leeds as opposed to winning leagues at clubs like Real Madrid, Juventus, or Bayern.
“Football is all about emotion; you can say OK I’ll play for Real Madrid, Bayern, or Juventus, but it’s about achieving something that is not expected, and to do that at Leeds with Marcelo Bielsa would be amazing, and there is no way to think about leaving.”