Kiko Casilla hasn't made the grade at Madrid - but Rafa Benitez may still consider a reunion at Newcastle United in January.
Rafa Benitez has two decent goalkeepers at his disposal at Newcastle United.
Rob Elliot is solid rather than spectacular while Karl Darlow, who impressed greatly as The Magpies won the Championship last season, came in for his first appearance of the 2017/18 campaign against West Brom on Tuesday.
But the ruthless Rafa knows that, if Newcastle are to push on in the Premier League, they cannot settle for ‘decent’.
It appears that a top class number one remains the Spaniard’s priority – and it remains to be seen if summer target Kiko Casilla is on his radar again when Sport claim that Real Madrid will make him available for transfer in January.
The Chronicle claimed that Newcastle were eying the 31-year-old a few months ago. A one-time Spain international, former Real youth player Casilla was brought back to the Bernabau from Espanyol during Benitez’s short spell in charge of the La Liga giants.
But Casilla has been unable to force himself into Real’s starting XI with Keylor Navas established as first choice. And with Sport adding that the Champions League holders have their hearts set on Athletic Bilbao’s Spain Under-21 stopper Kepa, Casilla could be set to fall further down the pecking order.
So a move to Tyneside, and a reunion with Benitez, would make sense in January. And while Casilla has failed to make the grade at Madrid, that should not concern the Newcastle United boss.
Casilla has been criticised for a few high-profile errors but it goes without saying that it is hugely difficult for goalkeepers to immediately find their form after prolonged spells on the sidelines.
The 6ft 3ins shot-stopper was one of La Liga’s finest goalkeepers when playing regularly for Espanyol, rated so highly that he even made his Spain debut despite La Roja’s never-ending raft of top quality shot-stoppers.
Becoming Newcastle's first-choice could help Casilla find that form again.