Leeds say goodbye to Kiko Casilla with brief statement as decks are cleared for popular replacement

Kiko Casilla, Leeds United, at the Bet 365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, England; Sky Bet Championship, Stoke City vs Leeds United

Leeds United have announced the departure of controversial goalkeeper Kiko Casilla by mutual consent, a year ahead of when his contract was due to expire at Elland Road.

The once-capped Spain international joined the Whites in January 2019 as the Whites looked to solidify their promotion push. But the move proved ill-fated with Casilla guilty of a number of errors of judgement. The most high-profile of these came in the play-off semi-final defeat to Derby.

However, Casilla will perhaps be best remembered for his time in England after receiving a lengthy ban having been found guilty of racism. While he always maintained his innocence, he was handed an eight-match ban in February 2020 following an incident with Charlton’s Jonathan Leko in September 2019.

He lost his place to Illan Meslier, who has gone on to establish himself as Leeds’ No 1.

As a result, Casilla exited Elland Road last summer, signing for Elche on a season’s loan.

That move appeared to see the 35-year-old enjoy a new lease of life. However, after starting their first 12 matches of the season, he then lost his place, only returning for the last two games of the campaign.

As such, Casilla returned to Leeds for the start of pre-season training this summer. However, after not making the touring squad that went to Australia, it was clear that Casilla had no future at Elland Road.

Now, after talks between club and his agent, Leeds have come to agreement that will see Casilla depart the Premier League side.

Kiko Casilla exit leaves Leeds with chance to sign new No 2

In a brief statement, the club said: “Leeds United and Kiko Casilla have parted company by mutual consent. We would like to thank Kiko for his contributions during his time at the club and we wish him well in the future.”

Casilla’s deal was due to expire in summer 2023. However, he is now free to sign for a club of his choosing.

To that end, Espanyol are reportedly exploring the possibility of his signing.

For Leeds United, news of Casilla’s departure will be likely be well received.

He made 61 appearances for Leeds, conceding 61 goals and also keeping 23 clean sheets.

However, it was fair to say he struggled to justify his reputation at Leeds, having arrived from Real Madrid. Furthermore, as one of the club’s highest earners, the club were keen to remove him from their wage bill.

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His exit is the second in the goalkeeping department this summer, with Elia Caprile departing for Bari earlier this month.

And with just Meslier and Kristoffer Klaesson as senior keepers, Leeds will likely seek to sign an experienced No 2.

To that end, Leeds are reportedly considering a move for veteran stopper Ben Foster. The former England man, now 39, is without a club, having left Watford at the end of the season.

To that end, Leeds United will now push forward with their plans to lure Foster to West Yorkshire this summer.