By Noel Whelan

24th Apr, 2020 | 12:00pm

First out the door - Exclusive: Whelan tips Leeds to bin first-team star

Noel Whelan believes that Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla is first in line to be sold by the club this summer.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes the FA charge for racial abuse has tarnished his reputation and made it difficult for the club to keep him on board.

Director of football Victor Orta says he is “very proud” of the 33-year-old for the mental strength shown after he was handed an eight-game suspension.

Whelan claims that the Spanish shot-stopper is in pole position when it comes to first-team exits this summer, suggesting Illan Meslier’s performances could push him out the door.

Whelan told Football Insider: “I think if anyone’s going to be leaving, and I think the fans will probably second me on this, it will be Casilla.

“I think they’ll always look back on his performances and some of the mistakes that have been made. There’s no doubt he’s a very talented goalkeeper but I think the incident with the racism and the punishment he’s got for that has really tarnished his reputation now.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“The club, if they’re going to stand by kicking racism out of football and be a proper ambassador for that, it’s making it very, very difficult for a club like Leeds United to keep that player on.

“They said they’ve stuck by him but that’s until now. Meslier’s still got a big part to play this season and that could sway the decision of the club and the manager either way.” 

Speaking to Spanish news agency EFE, as relayed by Leeds Live, Orta said: “I am also very proud because, with all the adversities he has suffered, he is still mentally very strong and helping a lot.

“Even with the current situation, he is helping Meslier, the young goalkeeper, after the sanction received.”

In other Leeds United news, the club have been tipped to sign a Nottingham Forest star after a big development.