When Leeds United announced that they had completed the signing of Kiko Casilla in January, their supporters had every right to be excited given his outstanding track-record in La Liga.
A highly experienced goalkeeper, the 32-year-old emerged as one of the best shot-stoppers in Spain during his time at Espanyol with his performances earning him a move to Real Madrid in 2015.
Although Casilla would be an understudy for Keylor Navas during his four-year spell with Los Blancos, he nevertheless played a role in helping the club lift 10 major honours and it was this winning mentality which would have attracted Whites boss Marcelo Bielsa.
With Yorkshire Evening Post journalist Phil Hay breaking the news that Leeds had made a sensational swoop for the keeper on Twitter, loads of Leeds fans expressed their delight at his arrival.
That is a serious signing
— Simon Green (@Simongreen19) 17 January 2019
What a signing that is
— Zak Johnson (@ZakJohno2) 17 January 2019
This week just keeps getting better and better #MOT
— Tim Powner (@lufc662) 17 January 2019
Nice bit of business
— Andrew Fryatt (@fry89) 17 January 2019
We’re gearing up for The Prem.
— Leeds aren’t I! (@bullockleeds) 17 January 2019
Four and a half year deal. Sign of intent!
— Ryan Lumb (@lumbug83) 17 January 2019
Lets just take that in …….
— Meirion Jones (@meirion1965) 17 January 2019
Fantastic addition just what we needed.
— SAMUEL (@SamuelLeedsfan) 17 January 2019
Having been four points clear at the top of the Championship standings when Casilla made the switch to Elland Road, Bielsa would have been extremely confident that his side would be able to clinch automatic promotion with the Spaniard in between the sticks.
However, a slow start to life in West Yorkshire saw Casilla fail to keep a clean sheet in any of his first six appearances as the Whites suffered damaging defeats to the likes of Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers.
Yet after delivering impressive performances against West Bromwich Albion and Bristol City, it looked as though the keeper had finally turned a corner for the Whites heading into their crunch clash with Sheffield United in March.
Unfortunately, though this wasn’t the case as with his side trailing 1-0 to the Blades, Casilla was sent-off for a challenge on Billy Sharp, a mistake which ultimately secured the victory for Chris Wilder’s side.
Despite this error in judgement, Bielsa brought him back into the side for the remainder of the season following Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s naive showing against Millwall, a decision which turned out to be disastrous.
Although Casilla initially bounced back by keeping consecutive clean sheets against Preston North End and Sheffield Wednesday, it has his mistakes against Derby County in the play-offs which ultimately led to Leeds’ elimination from the competition on Wednesday.
With the Whites facing another year in the Championship, it is unclear whether the Spaniard will remain as first choice at the club having failed to step up to the mark in the club’s biggest game of the season.
Leeds fans, what were your thoughts when Casilla initially signed? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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