CHELSEA were snubbed by Leeds keeper Illan Meslier when they tried to sign him in 2018, according to his agent.
The Yorkshire side eventually bought him from Lorient a year later but it could have been quite different for the 21-year-old.
Frenchman Meslier has been a hit since making the Elland Road switch – impressing in his debut Premier League campaign.
He is one of the youngest starting goalkeepers in Europe but his agent revealed he could have been sitting on the bench at Stamford Bridge or Monaco instead.
Xavier Fleury told the LUFCFANZONE podcast: “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.
“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.
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
Illan Meslier’s agent
“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.”
Fleury also revealed the youngster is happy with Leeds but refused to rule out a move to a bigger club in future if the Whites fail to challenge for trophies.
He added: “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.
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“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.”
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