There are number of ‘what ifs’ that Leeds United fans will surely be asking themselves following the collapse of both their automatic promotion push and play-off campaign over the course of a dramatic few weeks that put paid to their hopes of a long awaited return to the Premier League, and in none of the answers to those questions, does Kiko Casilla come out looking good.
Despite instantly becoming Leeds’ first choice between the posts immediately following his arrival from Real Madrid in January, Casilla has never really looked comfortable at Elland Road.
The Spaniard’s shaky showings were topped off by his calamitous performance to gift Derby a route back into the play-off semi final that Leeds had appeared to be in full control of now seems to have left his future at the club hanging by a thread.
According to a print edition of The Sun on Sunday (26/05,p69), Leeds are now keen to let the Spaniard go, bringing in another stopper instead. They could however, do well to listen to one of their former players on this matter, particularly given who they have waiting in the wings.
Speaking to Football Insider, ex Leeds striker Noel Whelan has claimed that the club should also look to tie down Bailey Peacock-Farrell to a new deal at Elland Road, something which given Casilla’s situation, makes perfect sense.
Since breaking into the Leeds first team, Peacock-Farrell had done very little wrong despite losing his place in the starting XI following the arrival of Casilla in January, and although he is about to enter the final year of his contract, you imagine he is currently favourite to start next season as Marcelo Bielsa’s first choice goalkeeper.
Leeds therefore, should already be thinking about tying him down to a new deal, before clubs further up the divisions start to take an interest in the Northern Ireland international.
Indeed, even if Leeds are to bring in a new ‘keeper to replace Casilla, they will need a second, reliable, option within their squad, and Peacock-Farrell has already proved he is more than capable of carrying out that role, although they may well have to offer him more than that if they are to convince him to stay at Elland Road beyond the end of next season.
One of the many ‘what ifs’ Leeds fans will have asked since that Wednesday night collapse at home to Derby little over three weeks ago will have been about how different things might be had it been Peacock-Farrell, and not Casilla, in goal for the second half of season. Next year, it may be not be a bad for idea for Leeds to find out for themselves.