Leeds United are on their way towards gaining a highly anticipated promotion back to the English top flight. However, manager Marcelo Bielsa must address several problems in the summer to survive in the Premier League.
Especially in the goalkeeping department, Kiko Casilla has not been able to make himself a reliable option in between the sticks. He has made numerous errors throughout the campaign while second choice Illan Meslier has minimal experience at the highest level of football.
Therefore, signing a new goalkeeper could be on the cards for Leeds, and in this article, we will talk about three goalkeepers the Whites should pursue this summer.
Jiri Pavlenka – Werder Bremen
Since his move to Werder Bremen in the summer of 2017, Jiri Pavlenka has been quick to establish himself as one of Bundesliga’s top goalkeepers. He is undoubtedly one of the busiest ones, with Bremen known for their horrendous defence. But, it is Pavlenka who has remained solid in between the sticks and has made numerous saves during his ongoing three-year spell in the Bundesliga.
This season, for example, the Czech international has made 71 saves, which is sixth highest in the Bundesliga so far. Interestingly, a tally of 3.08 saves per game is his worst record since joining Werder in 2017. He had averaged 3.7 saves per game in his debut campaign and 3.11 saves per game last season.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt Pavlenka is a top goalkeeper. He also has the experience, having already made almost 100 appearances in the German top flight. And with Bremen struggling to get out of the relegation zone, Leeds United could definitely have a chance to pounce on the 27-year-old, whose contract expires in 2021.
Zack Steffen – Manchester City
Zack Steffen is among the most emerging set of goalkeepers in Europe at the moment. The Manchester City ‘keeper joined Fortuna Dusseldorf in a season-long loan deal last summer. And since then, his performances in between the sticks have raised a lot of eyebrows.
Steffen is the least experienced goalkeeper on this list. But, he has shown tremendous maturity while his fast reflexes and remarkable athleticism mean he is almost destined to succeed at the highest level of football. In 17 Bundesliga matches, the United States international has notched up 64 saves, averaging 3.8 saves per game – highest in the league (among players who have at least played 15 games).
Therefore, Steffen is indeed a viable target for Leeds United. However, it remains to be seen whether or not Manchester City will be willing to let go of their prized asset even though they are not in imminent need of a goalkeeper at the moment.
David Ospina – Napoli
David Ospina will be an interesting option for Leeds United. The Colombia international is the only player on this list who has actually played in the Premier League and is by far the most experienced one, having made nearly 200 appearances in Ligue while winning over 100 caps for his country.
The reason why Ospina could leave Napoli is that he is not a guaranteed first-team choice for his current club. The ex-Arsenal star has featured in only 11 matches this season – sharing gametime with goalkeeping asset Alex Meret. Although Ospina has started all of the last four league games for Napoli, a return to Premier League could be an enticing prospect for the 31-year-old.
Not only will he become a first-choice ‘keeper at Leeds United but he will also have the opportunity to prove himself in the English top-flight after living in the shadow of Petr Cech during his spell at Arsenal.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored