Leeds are reportedly back in the market for an option between the sticks, but club icon Noel Whelan feels moving on from Kiko Casilla already ‘makes no sense’.
Our former striker shared his thoughts on the matter with Football Insider, after The Sun’s Alan Nixon tipped the former Real Madrid shot-stopper to be potentially heading back to Spain less than six months after moving to Elland Road.
The former Galactico was our only addition in the winter market, and was instantly established as Marcelo Bielsa’s number one over academy graduate Bailey Peacock-Farrell, who had been the boss’ first-choice option before the turn of the year.
Casilla’s time in West Yorkshire was hardly error-free, though, as the £30,000-a-week veteran would often rush out of his goal and leave the defence vulnerable to the opponent’s attackers.
The 32-year-old also saw red at home to Sheffield United in March while we were already a goal down, and conceded a total of 22 goals across his 19 outings in the Championship and Play-Offs – he also kept six clean sheets.
His potential exit, however, has raised a lot of questions for Whelan.
“On one side, he’s a bit of a freak in the way he rushes out of goal and the risks he takes, but to sign him on a four-and-a-half-year contract in January and then let him go six months later makes no sense,” he said.
“If you commit to a club, then you should properly commit, and it’s the same from a club’s point of view. I know Casilla is a bit erratic, but the Championship is a learning curve and you have to learn the division.
“Give him a bit of time. There is time to get better. Yes, he was a let-down in the Play-Offs against Derby, but that can be ironed out in time and during pre-season.
“Casilla has come from a huge club, and to say he is not the answer is just too premature. Unless you have £25million to find a top goalkeeper, you have to work with what you’ve got. You can’t just be rushing to sell players.”
If Casilla were to move on in the summer, his exit would leave the club with only one established first-choice ‘keeper in Peacock-Farrell, while 20-year-old Will Huffer has played just one senior game for the Whites.