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Kiko Casilla is quitting Leeds to join La Liga side Elche because he wants to play first-team football again.

Casilla lost the No 1 slot at Leeds to Illan Meslier in February 2020 and does not want to spend another season sitting on the bench.

The former Real Madrid goalkeeper made just five senior appearances during the last campaign and knows he would be limited to just a handful of games next season.

He is returning home to Spain to join Elche on a season-long loan with the option of a permanent move.

Casilla, 34, wants to play regularly again and put himself in the shop window to earn a permanent move to either Elche or another La Liga side.

Kiko Casilla managed just five games last season for Leeds
(Image: CameraSport via Getty Images)

Elche have agreed to pay part of Casilla’s wages and Leeds took over his Real contract when they signed him on a free from the Bernabeu in January 2019.

The move will also mean Casilla is closer to his family and it has been hard for the Spaniard to be separated from them during lockdown.

Marcelo Bielsa will be sad to see Casilla go and he greatly values his experience and professionalism.

The Leeds head coach staunchly supported Casilla when he was found guilty of racially abusing Charlton’s Jonathan Leko in February 2020 and banned for eight games.

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Casilla is also very popular among his Leeds team-mates and he has been a great help to French Under-21 international Meslier.

Leeds director of football Victor Orta believes he has already found Casilla’s replacement and may go for another young keeper like Meslier.

Orta, who has already made four signings for Leeds, is also working hard on capturing the central midfielder Bielsa wants and is in talks with the club of his prime target.

Kiko Casilla is leaving Leeds
(Image: PA)

However Orta faces competition from a number of other clubs and a deal is yet to be done. Orta is also looking at wingers and Rangers Ryan Kent is again being linked with Leeds.

Bielsa likes Kent, along with Manchester United ’s Daniel James, and Leeds have tried twice before to sign Kent.

But it is understood they are not actively trying for Kent again, although that situation may change towards the end of the transfer window if Orta cannot land any of the other two wingers he is targeting.