West Ham keeping tabs on impressive Leeds shot-stopper Meslier

West Ham target Illan Meslier. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
West Ham target Illan Meslier. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) /

West Ham have been linked with Leeds United shot stopper Illan Meslier who is enjoying a fine debut season in the Premier League with the Yorkshire club.

Football Insider have reported that the Hammers have been keeping an eye on the French goalkeeper amidst rumours that current number one Lukasz Fabianski is looking to be upgraded on in the summer as he approaches his twilight years.

Meslier, who turned 21 last week, has proved that if you are good enough you are old enough to play between the sticks at Premier League level despite goalkeepers often having to bide their time to make an impact before they get their chance.

And it has been maturity at such a young age that has got many people impressed with his displays for the Whites, as he has started 25 of their 26 Premier League fixtures this season.

The Frenchman arrived in England in 2019 and has never looked back since. Could a move to European-chasing West Ham be his next step?

West Ham target Illan Meslier
West Ham target Illan Meslier. (Photo by Tim Goode – Pool/Getty Images) /

If you look at the basic statistics, Meslier’s stats may not be viewed as impressive having conceded 43 goals, averaging out at 1.72 a game – the second worst record in the division for any goakeeper.

Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds side, however, play an expansive yet risky style of football which leaves their defence and goalkeeper open to chances being created against them, ultimately leading to more shots that Meslier has to face.

This is backed up by the fact that he has saved 130 shots so far this season – second only to Sam Johnston of West Brom. Along with this, his save percentage lies at 72.3%, the 7th highest ratio in the division of goalkeepers to have played over five matches.

But how does this compare to Fabianski who, while soon to be turning 36 in April, has shown that he still has the capabilities to be playing regular Premier League football?

The Polish international has the advantage of playing in West Ham side which David Moyes has set up to be more pragmatic and contain their opposition while hitting hard on the counter-attack. This means that he has been less exposed than Meslier due to each teams’ respective styles of play.

Fabianski’s statistics do ring out just as impressive, however, with a save percentage of 70 from 90 shots, just slightly below that of Meslier, whilst they have both kept eight clean sheets, respectively, the joint 5th amount in the Premier League.

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The underlying statistics do not point to a decline from the former Hammer of the Year, but would it be better for the club to act now and ultimately be ruthless by bringing in a youthful goalkeeper that could potentially make the position his own for the next decade?