Soccer

Illan Meslier has already made Newcastle feelings clear amid links

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Leeds United goalkeeper Islan Meslier has already made his thoughts on Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United clear amid links with a transfer to Tyneside. The Magpies are reportedly ready to battle Chelsea for Meslier’s signature as he continues to impress in the Premier League.

Leeds achieved a respectable 0-0 draw at St. James’ Park last week, and the 22-year-old Frenchman’s display was a prominent reason.

Meslier made a plethora of crucial saves, including from four efforts inside the box, as Jesse Marsch’s men bounced back from a home humbling from Manchester City.

His exploits will have caught Newcastle figures’ eye, with RMC Sport reporting they have joined Chelsea in monitoring his situation.

After the Newcastle draw, Meslier hailed Howe’s side and cited their quality as the reason for Leeds’ delight with the result.

He said: “It was a good point, definitely. It’s never easy to come here and try and bring home some points in the bag.

“They’re a really good team, so we’re very pleased because it was a strong performance, especially in defence and the clean sheet.

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“That was important to stop the goals. There were a lot of positive things, so it looks good for the future. They’re a very athletic team, they have very tall players, but we were strong in set plays, so it was fine.

“I’m just happy to help the team, to keep the clean sheet. Sometimes, we don’t expect their plans, they pressed us very high, which is difficult to play [against], and it wasn’t easy.

“But it’s sometimes easier to just defend and bring a point home in your bag.”

Meslier earned a stoppage-time yellow after getting into a scuffle with the Newcastle players, frustrated over the points they would inevitably drop.

But he sympathised with his opponents, admitting he understood why tensions were high as they chase Champions League football.

“I don’t know [why tempers flared]. I think they were just disappointed because they’d been trying to score, and this point was enough for us. I can understand their attitude, though.”

After the current campaign, Meslier could be eyeing the next step in his career, with Leeds looking likely to be involved in another relegation scrap.

And the Champions League and Europa League interest in his services makes a potential Elland Road exit even more likely.

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