Three keepers on Victor Orta’s radar as Leeds eye Casilla replacement

Date published: Tuesday 13th July 2021 6:23 - Robert McCarthy

Leeds director of football Victor Orta is reportedly looking to land a back-up option for Illan Meslier as quickly as possible after Kiko Casilla secured a loan move to Elche.

The veteran Spain stopper is heading home for the duration of the upcoming campaign, with reports suggesting that his time at Elland Road is now done. Casilla has two years remaining on his current Leeds contract, but he is expected to move permanently next summer.

With that in mind, a report in the Yorkshire Evening Post claims that Orta has narrowed down his search for a replacement to three names.

Prospects Dani van den Heuvel, 18, and Elia Caprile, 19, are the current back-up options for Marcelo Bielsa. With their age in mind, Orta wants a more experienced man to sit behind Meslier – or maybe even challenge him.

The YEP report states that the three candidates are Dani Cardenas, Kristoffer Klaesson and Freddie Woodman.

Cardenas, 24, plays for Levante in LaLiga and made eight top-flight appearances last season. He also played five times in the Copa Del Rey as Levante reached the last four.

He is currently the back-up to the more experienced Aitor Fernandez. But with his contract set to expire next year, Cardenas could be a relatively cheap option.

Klaesson, 20, is a player Leeds first made enquiries back about in 2019.

Despite the Norwegian star’s tender age he has already made 54 top-flight appearances with Valerenga, who currently sit third in the Norwegian league.

He has played every minute of the 13 games his side has played so far this season. He did miss one game through suspension, however.

His contract runs out in December 2022 but Valerenga sporting director Jorgen Ingebrigtsen previously confirmed to Oslo daily newspaper Dagsavisen that Leeds were keen on the youngster.

“Leeds made a specific inquiry about what our plans were with Kristoffer,” he said.

“The first conversations with them were in autumn last year. We said what you see now, that this is a player we didn’t want to sell. We had faith that he could become the first [choice] keeper at Vålerenga fairly quickly, and he is at the moment. They had a sense of understanding. The talks with them were very good.”


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Woodman back on Leeds’ radar

Newcastle’s Woodman is the last name on the list and is, once again, a former Whites target.

Freddie Woodman, Swansea goalkeeper on loan from Newcastle

The 24-year-old arrived at St James’ Park in 2013 but has had loan spells at Aberdeen, Crawley, Kilmarnock and Swansea, with whom he has spent the last two seasons as their number one. Woodman was linked with a switch to Elland Road back in 2018.

The young stopper excelled as the Swans reached the Championship play-off final last season, However, they lost out to Brentford for a place in the Premier League.

Woodman also faced Leeds twice in the 2019-20 campaign. He kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 Swansea win in west Yorkshire.

He’s currently contracted at Newcastle until 2023 and has also been linked with Arsenal and a Swans loan return.

Finally, the report adds that while there is no huge urgency to get a deal done, Leeds would like a new signing in before the start of their pre-season games.

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