Having fallen to third in the pecking order at Real Madrid, Kiko Casilla has decided to make a move to Leeds United in search of more regular first team football.
Real Madrid have confirmed this Thursday the transfer of Kiko Casilla to Leeds United. The 32-year-old goalkeeper has signed a contract until June 2023 with the English club, who currently lie top of the Championship and are one of the favourites to advance to the Premier League.
Casilla comes to Elland Road in the midst of a goalkeeping crisis. With first-choice keeper Jamal Blackman, on loan from Chelsea, side-lined with a broken leg since November, Leeds have had to depend on youngster Bailey Peacok-Farrell. And the Spaniard could be drafted into the team as early as Saturday for their trip to Stoke City.
“I am really happy, I want to start a new challenge in English football and I am really keen to start as soon as possible. Leeds United is a really historic club in England with a massive fan base that is perfect and my desire is to help put the club in its real place in the Premier League,” Casilla told LUTV.
Marcelo Bielsa spurs Leeds’ revival
Leeds, who finished 13th in the Championship last season, have seen their fortunes turned around with the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa in the summer. The Argentine coach has helped to put the club in prime position for a return to the Premier League, from which they have been absent since 2004.
“I am really pleased to work with [Bielsa]; I have a lot of information from when he worked in Spain. I watched the teams when he worked there and I talked with former players who worked with him, and they told me amazing things about him,” Casilla added.
A graduate of Real Madrid’s youth academy, Casilla had been at the Bernabeu for the past three and a half seasons, returning to the club following spells with Espanyol and Second Division B sides Cadiz and Cartagena.
The Spaniard played 43 games in all competition for Los Blancos, and had been second-choice behind Keylor Navas until the signing of Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea in August. Having fallen to third in the pecking order at the Bernabéu, Casilla has decided to make a move to England in search of more regular first team football, of which he is almost assured under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds.