Leeds United

Leeds United

Premier League • England

Big problem arises as Spanish press dishes up hatchet job on unwanted Leeds man

James Marshment
Kiko Casilla of Elche during the La Liga Santander match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Elche CF at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano

Leeds United’s hopes of offloading troubled goalkeeper Kiko Casilla on a permanent basis have suffered what looks to be a telling blow.

The Spaniard left Elland Road over the summer after a troubled spell in West Yorkshire. While he spent a full year as Leeds’ number one, he then faced a racism charge and a ban. In his absence, Illan Meslier stepped in during his initial loan spell, but he quickly cemented his role as the number-one choice.

That left Casilla kicking his heels, though he eventually found what looked to be salvation with a season’s loan move to La Liga side Elche.

He has since started 12 games for Alicante-based side, conceding 15 goals and keeping clean sheets.

However, he has not covered himself in glory on his return to Spain. And it seems his prospects of securing a permanent switch to Elche appear to be fading amid something of a harsh write up in the Spanish press.

Under the headline, ‘The Disappointment’, Marca clearly are none too impressed by the 35-year-old’s performances.

Taking into account his history at both Leeds and Real Madrid, the newspaper claims Casilla has offered a ‘offered a lower level than expected’ at Elche.

Translated by Sport Witness, they add that Casilla has also ‘given a feeling of insecurity’ in ‘several games’ as he could have done ‘something more’ to prevent some of the goals he has conceded.

As such, they claim a return to Elland Road at the end of the season looks a likely outcome.

And with still 12 months remaining on his deal, that will leave Leeds with something of a decision to make.

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The 35-year-old also admits he has no desire to return to Elland Road.

“Six months ago I had the thought of returning to the Spanish league,” Casilla said.

“I want to thank Leeds, especially [director of football] Victor Orta, for all the facilities they gave me to leave. He knows what I can give to this club.

“It is a normal and current option until the end of the season, but when it ends, if all goes well, there would be no problems to continue. My intention is to stay in Spain.”

Leeds also encountering Helder Costa sale issues

Leeds United could also face a major problem in their bid to offload Helder Costa, according to reports.

The 27-year-old moved to Valencia on an initial €2m loan arrangement that can become a permanent €10m sale next summer.

Costa’s comments on November 5 made it look as though he would stay in Spain past this season. He said Valencia was an ‘ideal place’ for him to get back to his best. He also revealed that his situation at Leeds was ‘not so good’.

But LeedsAllOver, citing reports in the Spanish press,provide an important new update. They write that Valencia are in ‘significant’ financial trouble. They need to raise €36m through player sales to right off such debts.

First-team stars such as Carlos Soler, Jose Gaya and Goncalo Guedes may have to be sold. That could prove to be good news for Liverpool and Arsenal as they are keeping tabs on 24-year-old Guedes.

The news means Valencia will not be making Costa’s temporary spell at the Mestalla Stadium permanent, much to the disappointment of Leeds.

The Whites will now have to find another suitor for the attacker, once he returns to West Yorkshire in June.

Costa has made 71 appearances for Leeds in all competitions, scoring eight times.

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