Goalkeeper is a position at Leeds United that has become something of a poisoned chalice of late. From Paul Rachubca to Felix Wiedwald via Marco Silvestri, stoppers haven’t, well, stopped at Elland Road.
Last season it was a season that started out with youngster Bailey Peacock-Farrell between the sticks. That all changed in January when the Whites went all-in to bring in Kiko Casilla from Real Madrid.
Casilla was very much a back-up to Keylor Navas across the 2017/18 season, yet he still managed to get some game time in LaLiga and that season’s Champions League. However, the arrival of Thibault Courtois from Chelsea last summer saw Casilla plunge to 3rd choice at the club.
Casilla possesses the pedigree that suggests that he is not a third-choice keeper in anyone’s book, and Leeds stepped in to bring him from the Santiago Bernebeuto Elland Road. They landed him on an effective free transfer after buying out the remainder of his deal which cost the West Yorkshire club a reported €1.8million.
As expected, Casilla instantly deposed Peacock-Farrell as United’s #1 and went on to make 17 appearances for the West Yorkshire club in the Championship where he conceded 18 goals and kept just the five clean sheets. However, many fans were questioning his decision-making, including impetuous rushes to clear outside his box, and this was brought to the fore in a humbling 4-2 defeat at Elland Road that saw the Whites knocked out of the play-offs.
There was talk that, having failed to reach the Premier League, Casilla’s wage at Elland Road would be untenable and that the club would look to move the Spaniard on. Not so according to former Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Phil Hay on Twitter:
appears that he’ll be staying. I was expecting Leeds to look for offers for him because of his wage but he’s been very much involved (and I gather that he wants to stay)
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) July 22, 2019
Whether it’s a change of mind by the club or a change of heart by the player, it appears that Kiko Casilla is staying at Elland Road for next season. It could be a decision which sees Bailey Peacock-Farrell steeling himself to leave after comments he made whilst on international duty that he was looking for regular game time or he’d have to consider moving on from Elland Road.