Leeds United suffered a fourth defeat in their last five Premier League games on Monday night, as their London hoodoo continued at the hands of West Ham United. But aside from the 2-0 result, Marcelo Bielsa’s selection on the Leeds bench proved intriguing – as the Argentine decided to pick Italian rookie Elia Caprile over Kiko Casilla, dropping the Spaniard entirely.
Indeed, after the match – which saw Jesse Lingard and Craig Dawson score goals in the first half – Bielsa was asked about the decision to drop Casilla, who is one of the club’s highest earners and has a contract at the club until the summer of 2022. He responded, by stating that the Spain international and Champions League winner was dropped, and not because of injury.
So, it might be a sign for Casilla going forward. He has hardly enjoyed a successful stint at Elland Road since his move to Leeds in January 2019 from the Spanish giants – making big mistakes in the play-off defeat to Derby County during Bielsa’s first season, and then being banned for eight games and after racially abusing Charlton’s Jonathan Leko.
It subsequently saw the rise of French stopper Illan Meslier, but Casilla has since been forced to feed off scraps and now it looks as though his time at Elland Road is coming to an end. Though he has a contract until the end of next season, it is clear that should a club come calling in the summer – Leeds will allow him to leave. Mutual termination might even be an option.
His future is looking even more bleak after Bielsa decided to drop the veteran stopper, just days after Leeds were linked with a move for Alaves stopper Fernando Pacheco. Interestingly, 28-year-old Pacheco was sold by Real Madrid in the summer of 2015 to Alaves where he has since played 207 times in all competitions and replaced by, you guessed it, Casilla.
ElGolDigital, a renowned Spanish outlet, claim Leeds are battling Southampton for eight-time Spain Under-21 international Pacheco – who played twice for Real Madrid, once under Jose Mourinho and once under Carlo Ancelotti. It is claimed that Pacheco, who has 67 clean sheets in his 207 Alaves games, would only cost a figure of £8.5million.
So, given that Casilla was dropped from the Leeds side on Monday, and that the club are reportedly after the goalkeeper that he replaced at Real Madrid – surely time is beginning to run out for Casilla?