Phil Hay claims Bielsa will turn to Meslier if Casilla is banned for Leeds
The deadline for Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla to respond to the FA charge for racist abuse during the Championship game against Charlton has passed.
After being granted an extension by the FA to respond, Casilla and Leeds were given until November 27 to put their side of the story forward.
Casilla had previously denied the allegations and Leeds have continued to play him to great effect in the Championship.
If he is found guilty he will face a minimum ban of six games, although it has been reported that he could be set for a longer punishment.
The Daily Mail reported at the start of November that he was set to be hit with a ban between eight and 12 games. However, given that Casilla hadn’t responded by this date, we can probably take that report with a pinch of salt.
There has been lots of speculation as to whether Leeds would or indeed should dip into the January transfer market to bring in an experienced keeper in should Casilla be banned.
However, the latest word from The Athletic’s Phil Hay is that 19-year-old Illan Meslier will get the gloves.
Talking in a fan Q&A on Thursday, Hay said, “I’m hearing that Bielsa is likely to give Meslier a go. I mean if he doesn’t then what on earth was the point of signing Meslier as a replacement for BPF [Bailey Peacock-Farrell]. It’s pointless having a number two you don’t trust to play.”
Hay, as ever, makes a good point. And that would fit with what happened last season when Peacock-Farrell and Jamaal Blackman were injured. Bielsa played Will Huffer for his one and only Championship game rather than looking for an emergency loan.
We’ve watched Leeds in their last two Under-23s games and seen Kamil Miazek and Illan Meslier in action.
Meslier has been the most impressive and like Casilla he’s good with his feet and strong on distribution. His only senior experience is in the French second tier, though, so it will be a big step up for him.
We wonder if Bielsa is regretting not giving Meslier the gloves for the two EFL Cup games earlier in the season. It seemed odd not to play Meslier then instead of Casilla and it would have given him a taste of the pressure of playing for the Leeds first team.
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