For Leeds fans who were paying close attention to the team-sheet yesterday for the Premier League clash against West Ham, there was one notable omission from the substitutes bench: Kiko Casilla.
The goalkeeper has been ousted as the Whites’ number one goalkeeper by Illan Meslier, and has served as the Frenchman’s back-up in the top-flight. But instead of his name, fans saw the 19-year-old Elia Caprile on the bench.
And, in his post-match press conference, Bielsa confirmed that the Spaniard’s absence from the match-day squad was fully down to him, revealing: “Casilla today was a decision that I made to include Caprile on the bench and Casilla is not injured.”
With reports back in December and January saying that the club are interested in the likes of Sam Johnstone and Seny Dieng, it’s clear that the goalkeeping department is something Leeds would like to strengthen.
The £35k-a-week earning Casilla has lost his way at Elland Road after Meslier’s emergence onto the scene, and when he has been called upon this season, he hasn’t delivered the goods.
Speaking after Leeds’ FA Cup defeat to Crawley Town earlier this year, journalist Daniel Storey, said: “I think Kiko Casilla was the other game-changer in a negative sense because I don’t think he should be playing for Leeds for non-football reasons, but he probably shouldn’t be playing for Leeds for football reasons after today.
“He just looked so short of confidence that the second goal just completely went through him at his near post. I think it was disappointing that he was picked and I kind of saw it as karma doesn’t really have a sell-by date and two or three years down the line, he’s come undone maybe.”
Bielsa’s pre-match call on leaving Casilla out and promoting Caprile could be the writing on the wall for the Spaniard’s future at the club, especially with those transfer links to other goalkeepers.
And given how he arguably should have been sold in January, it surely can’t come soon enough.
Meanwhile, this man let Leeds down against West Ham…