The front page of Spanish paper AS on Thursday lead with the news that Espanyol keeper Kiko Casilla is set for a €6m move to Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are in need of a new keeper after Iker Casillas left the club to join FC Porto, with Manchester United’s David De Gea initially the club’s number one target.
Real’s pursuit of De Gea, however, appears to have hit a roadblock as Manchester United have been unable to reach agreement with the Spaniards, and now Los Blancos appear to be implementing their plan B.
According to AS, 28-year-old Casilla will move to the Santiago Bernabeu “in the coming days for a figure of around €6 million, the asking price of Espanyol for the goalkeeper, whose contract ends in 2018 and has a release clause of €20 million”.
So why are Espanyol selling their keeper on the cheap? Because they are in a financial hole.
First and foremost, Madrid already own 50% of the keeper’s rights, but that didn’t stop Espanyol knocking back an original lowball €4m offer from Real.
The Catalans, however, are in debt to the tune of €130 million, and AS report “they need to pay €10 million to the Tax Office in the coming weeks”.
So where will Casilla’s move leave David De Gea? It’s unclear.
It feels unlikely that Rafa Benitez wants three top keepers in his first team squad next season, but if Real get the opportunity to sign De Gea, even late on in the window, they are likely to pull the trigger.
Yet, by having Keylor Navas and Casilla on their books, the sense that De Gea could remain at Man United next season, and leave on a free next summer, intensifies.