Leeds favourites to sign replacement for £30k-p/w Bielsa signing

Leeds United have shown they can survive without Marcelo Bielsa signing Illan Meslier in their team, the suspended number one shot-stopper absent for the first two games of 2024 with the Whites picking up back-to-back wins in both league and Cup with him out of the starting eleven.

A hot-headed move against Preston North End on Boxing Day that saw hm sent off could prove to be Meslier’s undoing, even with Daniel Farke bringing his lofty 6 foot 7 goalkeeper back into the starting lineup away at Cardiff City in a thumping 3-0 win last weekend.

Rumours suggest that the Whites could land an upgrade on the unpredictable 23-year-old this month, with the Championship promotion candidates now in the driver’s seat over one potential incoming.

Leeds searching for a new goalkeeper

Italian outlet TuttoMercatoWeb have confirmed this week that Leeds are leading the race to sign Polish goalkeeper Bartlomej Dragowski, with the current Spezia goalkeeper also on the radar of Rennes out in France.

But, although Leeds are described to be ‘in pole position’ to land the Serie B keeper, the report further elaborates that the West Yorkshire club will only be able to sanction such a deal for Dragowski if Meslier is moved on in the opposite direction away from Elland Road.

It will be an interesting transfer saga to watch unfold, but just casting an eye over Dragowski’s up-and-down career to date at a glance, he could well be an improvement on the Frenchman currently in between the sticks at Leeds.


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How Dragowski compares to Meslier

Not featuring in the Spezia first-team fold since late November, Dragowski is in need of revitalising his career again after bursting onto the scene early into his career as an exciting talent to watch.

When the 26-year-old has pulled on the number one jersey for his Serie B outfit this season, he has shone however – keeping a clean sheet away at Lecco in mid-November, making five saves in the process to help Spezia pick up a point in the 0-0 draw.

Yet, it’s his spell with Empoli in the division above in Italy that won him plaudits before this switch to Spezia which Leeds will hope they can tap into if he arrives to England.

During an away game with Empoli whilst out on loan from Fiorentina, the towering 6 foot 3 goalkeeper pulled off a ridiculous 17 saves in total to keep the scoreline somehow at 0-0 versus Atalanta – leading to football talent scout Jacek Kulig calling for the Italian club to ‘build a statue’ of Dragowski to honour his miraculous heroics in the net.

Farke could well look to Dragowski’s pedigree playing in tense contests at venues such as the San Siro, and not buckling under the intense pressure, as grounds to attempt to sign the Spezia man this January.

Such heroics and form could well see the ‘phenomenal’ goalkeeper, as further described by Kulig, as an upgrade on Meslier. Some important stats such as save percentage tell you all you need to know.

Dragowski vs Meslier: 2023/24

Stat (per 90)






Save %



Pass Success



Ball Recoveries



Clean Sheet %



Stats via FBref.

With Leeds’ £30k-per-week French giant evidently unconvincing in spells this season on top of his moment of madness against Preston – conceding to Coventry City in late December to rid Leeds of a routine 1-0 home victory – the time could well be right for a shake-up in the net at Elland Road with Dragowski the obvious frontrunner to replace Meslier for good.

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