Why Leeds United should hold onto Kiko Casilla amid interest from Spain
A product of the Real Madrid academy, Casilla left the club in 2007, joining Espanyol. Having had loan spells at Cadiz and Cartagena, the Spaniard became a first-team regular since 2011 and racked up 126 appearances for the club. After four years, he returned to Real Madrid in 2015 but was largely a backup option.
After 46 appearances in three-and-a-half years, Casilla signed for Leeds United in January 2019. Till date, he has managed 56 appearances for the Whites, keeping 22 clean sheets in the process.
Leeds United, meanwhile, have had an exceptional campaign in the EFL Championship. Marcelo Bielsa’s side are sitting atop the second division, and are in line to earn a promotion to the Premier League should the season resume at some point.
Kiko the main man in goal for Leeds
The Whites have been the best defensive unit in the Championship this season. In 37 league games, Leeds have conceded just 30 goals, keeping 17 clean sheets in the process – the most by any team in the competition.
Fifteen of these clean sheets have been kept by Casilla in 35 appearances in the Championship. He may have courted controversy after the racism incident in February, which brought him an eight-game ban. But the Spaniard has proven his worth between the sticks with solid performances.
Furthermore, Leeds do not have experienced goalkeepers amongst them apart from Casilla. Illan Meslier was signed on loan last summer and has managed two clean sheets in two Championship appearances. However, at 20, he lacks the requisite experience, especially if Leeds end up getting promoted. The same goes for Will Huffer too, whose contract will expire this summer.
Hence, keeping hold of a seasoned campaigner like Casilla becomes important for Leeds. The 33-year-old is vastly experienced and has performed well in goal for the Whites since signing last year.
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Casilla may have courted controversy after his antics on the pitch earlier this year. However, he remains Leeds United’s best goalkeeping option. With Illan Meslier only on loan and Will Huffer’s contract expiring at the end of the season, the Whites should do everything to keep hold of the veteran shot-stopper amidst interest from Spain.