Having arrived at Leeds United from Real Madrid on a free transfer back in January of 2019, and the club handing the goalkeeper a four and a half year deal on a reported £40k-per-week, expectations of Kiko Casilla were clearly extremely high at Elland Road.
Indeed, the manager of the Whites at the time of the then 32-year-old’s arrival, Marcelo Bielsa, said of the shot-stopper: “I don’t have to make any comment on Casilla because his career speaks for itself. He is a complete player. The fact that the goalkeeper from Real Madrid comes to Leeds, I think the owner of the club should be proud to attract this type of player.”
Was it a mistake to give Casilla a four and a half year deal?
And, despite getting off to an error-stricken start in his debut campaign at the club – earning a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 6.74 over his 17 Championship appearances back in 2018/19, ranking him as Leeds’ ninth-worst player in the league that season – the £720k-rated ‘keeper began to find some form the following year.
Indeed, over his 36 second-tier outings in 2019/20, the 35-year-old helped his side keep 15 clean sheets, as well as made an average of two saves and 0.4 runs out per game, with these metrics seeing the goalkeeper average a much more impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.91 – ranking him as the Whites’ tenth-best player in the league that term.
However, after an independent Football Association regulatory commission found the Spaniard guilty of racially abusing Jonathan Leko in March 2020, Casilla was handed an eight-game ban during the run-in of the club’s 2019/20 Championship campaign – since which the shot-stopper has barely featured.
Although, with a year and a half still remaining on Casilla’s four and a half year contract at Elland Road, it would not be surprising to see the 35-year-old return to Leeds this summer – as it would appear incredibly unlikely the veteran shot-stopper will be willing to give up on £40k-per-week in the twilight years of his footballing career.
As such, when taking into account the Spaniard has so far cost the Whites £5.2m in wages over his 130 weeks spent at the club – a figure which rises to £7.3m should Leeds be unable to shift the player Oscar Mario dubbed a “complete liability” this summer – there is unfortunately no conclusion to draw other than to say Casilla has been rising Andrea Radrizzani.
AND in other news: Huge blow: Phil Hay drops 8-word Leeds United injury update, Marsch will be gutted