Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla has joined La Liga side Elche on a season-long loan. The 34-year-old will return to his native Spain after falling down the pecking order at Elland Road.
Kiko Casilla Joins Elche on Loan From Leeds United
Casilla Has Fallen Out of Favour at Elland Road
At 34-years-old and playing second fiddle to the highly-rated youngster Illan Meslier, a move away from Elland Road for Kiko Casilla makes sense for both parties.
The former Real Madrid man joined the Whites in 2019 and made 62 appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side. However, the goalkeeper was handed an eight-game ban for racism at the end of the 2019/20 season and was also forced to pay a £60,000 fine and attend a face-to-face education course. This led to the goalkeeper falling out of favour with the veteran manager.
As a result, he managed just five outings in all competitions last season as Leeds finished ninth on their return to the Premier League.
Casilla has two years remaining on his current deal at Elland Road, although it would seem unlikely that he will return to the club once his loan deal comes to an end.
Casilla Departs England in the Hope of Regular Football
A return to Spain makes sense for Casilla. The goalkeeper has struggled in England, despite being Bielsa’s first choice for a large part of his time in Yorkshire.
Elche finished just one place and two points clear of the relegation spot last season so for Los Franjiverdes to sign someone with the experience that Casilla will bring will be a huge boost, especially as only five teams conceded more last season.
Despite his experience, Casilla will need to dislodge Édgar Badía in goal, having made 91 appearances over three seasons. This leaves manager Fran Escribá with a big decision to make ahead of the new campaign.