'Inconceivable' – Phil Hay suggests Casilla could have played last game for Leeds
Leeds United keeper Kiko Casilla has been banned guilty of racism and banned for eight games by the FA.
The ban took immediate effect after the verdict on Friday and Illan Meslier stepped up to play his first league game for Leeds today against Hull.
Meslier put in a brilliant performance on his debut for Leeds in the FA Cup game against Arsenal and he kept a clean sheet against Hull on Saturday.
If he carries on in that vein then Casilla may well have played his last game for the club.
That’s not just our view but that of Athletic journalist Phil Hay as well.
Ahead of the game against Hull he wrote, “Meslier played confidently enough at Arsenal to suggest that when Casilla hands him the baton, he will slip into Leeds’ starting line-up smoothly.
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“Casilla does not need to be told that if Meslier does well and wins Bielsa’s confidence, the Frenchman might keep his place and spark a wider debate about how the goalkeeping pecking order should look next season.
“At board level, Leeds were minded to listen to offers for Casilla last summer until Bielsa indicated that the former Real Madrid man was staying. It is inconceivable that the club would want to continue to bear the high cost of Casilla’s salary if Meslier succeeds in properly displacing him though.”
Our thinking was always that if Leeds got promoted, Casilla would carry on as the number one with Illan Meslier learning the ropes and eventually succeeding him.
However, what Hay says makes a lot of sense. There are 10 games left of the season now and Casilla is banned for seven of them.
If Meslier continues playing well then there’s no way Casilla will come back in after that long out of the side for the last three games.
And, come the summer, if Meslier has done enough to convince that he should be the club’s number one, why would Leeds want to carry on paying Casilla’s wages?
It may even be the case that Casilla decides he would rather head back to Spain after the FA ruling.
Casilla is one of the club’s top earners on a reported £32k-a-week but he is under contract under 2023.
Getting his wages off the books would mean finding a buyer or a loan club for him.
In other Leeds United news, ‘This isn’t the end of it’ – Exclusive: Paul Robinson delivers hardline verdict on FA charge