Jamal Blackman has been released by Exeter this summer after an impressive 2022-23 campaign with the League One side – five years on from playing under Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road, during a loan at Leeds from Chelsea.
Blackman, 29, has endured a difficult time of it in the last few years with injuries hampering his progress. He has also struggled to find a permanent home, officially leaving Chelsea in 2021 after 15 years at Stamford Bridge.
Joining the club as a 13-year-old, Blackman did not actually play a single senior game for Chelsea. But he went on loan eight times – Leeds being the fifth of those eight. Two years ago, he was finally off of Chelsea’s books for good.
He made the bold move to leave England for the third time after loans in Sweden with Graham Potter’s old side Ostersunds and Dutch side Vitesse – to join LA Galaxy. Eight games later, he was back in England at Huddersfield.
Blackman released five years on from playing under Bielsa at Leeds
Only three games last season saw him drop a division and join Exeter, where he has been first choice. Indeed, the goalkeeper kept 10 clean sheets in 41 games – but he has decided to move on again, and is currently a free agent.
It comes a long way away from the highly-rated goalkeeper that Leeds brought in – alongside midfielder Lewis Baker – from Chelsea on loan in Bielsa’s first season. But Bielsa preferred Bailey Peacock-Farrell to begin with in 18-19.
Then, Leeds signed Kiko Casilla from Real Madrid in January 2019 and Blackman was reduced to the reserves. He finished that season with just two outings under Bielsa, both in the Carabao Cup and now, Blackman is a free agent.