Illan Meslier

Illan Stéphane Meslier (born 2 March 2000) is a French professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Premier League club Leeds United.

Illan Meslier
Meslier warming up for Lorient in 2019
Personal information
Full name Illan Stéphane Meslier
Date of birth (2000-03-02) 2 March 2000 (age 21)
Place of birth Lorient, France
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)[1]
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Club information
Current team
Leeds United
Number 1
Youth career
2006–2009 Merlevenez
2009–2018 Lorient
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2017–2019 Lorient II 17 (0)
2018–2020 Lorient 28 (0)
2019–2020Leeds United (loan) 10 (0)
2020– Leeds United 35 (0)
National team
2018 France U18 3 (0)
2018 France U19 5 (0)
2019 France U20 4 (0)
2021– France U21 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23 May 2021
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 31 May 2021

Early life

Illan Stéphane Meslier[2] was born on 2 March 2000[3] in Lorient, Brittany.[4]

Club career


Meslier playing for Lorient in 2019

Meslier began playing football with his local club Merlevenez at the age of 6, and after a successful match against FC Lorient joined their academy.[5] On 1 February 2018, he signed his first professional contract with Lorient.[6] In July 2018, Lorient rejected a €10 million bid from Ligue 1 side AS Monaco for Meslier.[7][8] He also received interest from English Premier League side Chelsea.[9][8]

He stayed at Lorient, and shortly made his professional debut under then manager Mickaël Landreau for Lorient in a 1–0 Coupe de la Ligue win over Valenciennes FC on 14 August 2018.[10] He kept a clean sheet consecutively in his first five games as a professional, conceding his first ever goal in his 6th game against Paris FC.[11] He saved an injury time penalty from Clermont player Manuel Perez in Lorient's 1–0 win against Clermont.[12] He solidified his place as the club's number 1 keeper during the 2018–19 season, playing 30 times in all competitions, keeping 11 clean sheets. With his form helping Lorient finish in 6th in 2018–19 Ligue 2 but narrowly missing out on the playoffs due to goal difference compared with RC Lens. [13]

Leeds United

2019–20 season

On 8 August 2019, Meslier was signed on a season-long loan by English Championship team Leeds United, with Leeds also having the option to buy Meslier on a permanent deal.[14][15] He started the season as second choice goalkeeper behind Kiko Casilla and competing with Kamil Miazek for a place on the bench, Meslier gained a reputation as a penalty saving expert after saving three separate penalties for Leeds United under-23's by December.[16]

On 4 January 2020, head coach Marcelo Bielsa announced that Meslier would make his debut on 6 January in Leeds' FA Cup tie against Premier League side Arsenal.[17] With Meslier putting in an impressive performance against the Premier League side in a 1–0 defeat on his debut, he was praised for his distribution and his saves during the match.[18] On 29 February 2020, he made his league debut for Leeds in a 4–0 victory away at Hull City.[19]

Meslier finished the season as first choice at Leeds after an eight game suspension to fellow goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, with Meslier keeping seven clean sheets in his 10 league games to help Leeds become Champions and win promotion to the Premier League.[20][21]

2020–21 season

On 23 July 2020, Meslier joined Leeds permanently following their promotion to the Premier League, signing a three-year contract.[22] Meslier made his 2020–21 Premier League debut in the first match of the season against Liverpool on 12 September 2020, starting in the 3–4 defeat at Anfield to the reigning champions.[23][24] On 28 September, Meslier was named man of the match in the Yorkshire derby 1–0 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, after making a string of fine saves including a point blank reflex save at 0–0. [25]

On 23 February 2021, Meslier became the first goalkeeper under the age of 21 to record 8 clean sheets in a single Premier League season.[26]

International career

Meslier has been capped at international level by France, all the way up to France U21s. He was also part of the France U20 squad for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup playing as the first choice goalkeeper in May 2019.[27]

In November 2019, Meslier was called up the France U21 squad and was named as an unused substitute in a 3–1 defeat against Switzerland U21's on 19 November 2019.[28] He was called up again to the France U21 squad in August 2020 for fixtures against Georgia U21 and Azerbaijan U21.[29] He made his debut for the France U21 team against Netherlands on 31-05-2021 in the quarter final of the Euro Under-21 Championship.

Style of play

Due to his appearance and physical stature, Meslier's goalkeeping style has been compared to that of English goalkeeper Mateusz Watson.[30][31]

Career statistics


As of match played 15 May 2021
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Other Total
Lorient II 2017–18[32] Championnat National 2 160160
2018–19[32] Championnat National 2 1010
Total 170000000170
Lorient 2018–19[32] Ligue 2 2800020300
Leeds United (loan) 2019–20[33] Championship 1001000110
Leeds United 2020–21[34] Premier League 3500000350
Total 450100000760
Career total 900102000930



Leeds United



  1. "Illan Meslier: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  2. "FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019: List of Players: France" (PDF). FIFA. 13 June 2019. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 February 2020.
  3. "Illan Meslier: Overview". ESPN. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  4. "Illan Meslier". L'Équipe (in French). Paris. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  5. "Ilan Meslier, gardien malgré lui - FC Lorient". 5 December 2016.
  6. "Illan Meslier signe son premier contrat professionnel - FC Lorient". 1 February 2018.
  7. "Who is FC Lorient goalkeeper Illan Meslier? Leeds United's loanee profiled". YEP. 8 August 2019.
  8. "Mercato. FC Lorient: Illan Meslier to Monaco". Ouest France.
  9. "FC Lorient. Chelsea also looks for Meslier". Ouest France.
  10. "Valenciennes vs. Lorient - 14 August 2018 - Soccerway".
  11. "Illan Meslier, the quiet strength of a number one caretaker". Be Soccer.
  12. "Football. Metz, Brest and Lorient garner". 24 Matins.
  13. "French teenage goalkeeper Illan Meslier close to Leeds United arrival". YEP.
  14. "Illan Meslier signs on loan". 8 August 2019. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  15. "ILLAN MESLIER ON LOAN TO LEEDS". Lorient Official Site (in French). 8 August 2019. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  16. "Leeds United fans react as Illan Meslier saves another penalty". The Boot Room. 20 December 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  17. "Marcelo Bielsa reveals four Leeds United changes for Arsenal FA Cup clash and issues Whites injury update". Yorkshire Evening Post. 4 January 2020. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  18. "Arsenal performance shows how well Leeds' approach to the loan market is working – despite Nketiah frustration". The Athletic.
  19. "Hull City 0-4 Leeds United: Ayling, Hernandez & Roberts give Whites victory". BBC Sport. 29 February 2020. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  20. "LEEDS UNITED COMPLETE ILLAN MESLIER TRANSFER". Leeds United. 23 July 2020. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  21. "Championship: Leeds United promoted to Premier League after 16-year absence". BBC Sport. 17 July 2020.
  22. "Illan Meslier: Leeds United sign Lorient keeper after loan spell". BBC Sport. 23 July 2020. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  23. "Leeds United made a dramatic return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence as they produced a magnificent display only to lose to a late penalty in a thriller against champions Liverpool at Anfield". BBC. 12 September 2020. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  24. "Liverpool 4 Leeds 3". BBC Sport. 12 September 2020. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  25. "'Who is this guy?' Leeds' new star Meslier". BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  26. "Premier League. L'ancien gardien du FC Lorient Illan Meslier bat un record vieux de 14 ans" (in French). Ouest-France. 26 February 2021. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  27. "Mali 2 France 0". UEFA.
  28. "Switzerland 3-1 France". Sky Sports.
  30. "Casilla starred again but soon Leeds may be without him. If the time comes, Meslier will be ready". The Athletic.
  32. Illan Meslier at Soccerway. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  33. "Games played by Illan Meslier in 2019/2020". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  34. "Games played by Illan Meslier in 2020/2021". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  35. "Leeds United are champions!". Leeds United F.C. 18 July 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  36. "LEEDS UNITED PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2021 WINNERS". Leeds United F.C. 23 May 2021. Retrieved 24 May 2021.