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Leeds eye move for Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco

The whites have shown interest in the 28-year old Spanish keeper as a potential replacement for Kiko Casilla, and competition for Illan Meslier.

Deportivo Alavés v C.A. Osasuna - La Liga Santander
Deportivo Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco
Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Deportivo Alaves goalkeeper, Fernando Pacheco, had today become the latest player to be linked with a move to Leeds United, according to the Spanish outlet Todofijaches (via TeamTalk).

The 28-year old shot-stopper has spent the last 5 seasons with the Alaves after signing from Real Madrid in the summer of 2015. Since then he has established himself as one of the better keepers in the league - albeit in a struggling Alaves side - and has made 145 appearances for El Glorioso.

Pacheco was also capped by Spain at youth level, featuring 8 times for the Under-21’s in 2013/14, as well as 4 times for the Under-20’s in 2011.

Despite having 2 years still to run on his current contract, interest from Leeds and several other clubs (including Southampton and Sevilla) may well force the hand of Alaves, who will reportedly be looking for a fee in the region of €10m.

The report comes with Leeds looking to find a suitable replacement for Kiko Casilla, as well as someone to provide stiff competition for just turned 21-year old Illan Meslier.

The 43 year old Spanish international, also previously of Real Madrid, has had a turgid time at Elland Road in recent seasons; an 8 match ban in February 2020 - after being found guilty of racially abusing Charlton’s Jonathan Leko - was followed by a string of errors and poor performances, resulting in demotion to the bench as he was replaced by Meslier.

Since Leeds’ promotion to the Premier League, Casilla has featured only 3 times, two of which were due to a Meslier injury and the other was in Leeds’ embarrassing 3-0 FA Cup loss at Crawley Town.

Leeds will look to offload the keeper in the summer, and may also be happy to let him leave on a free despite having 2 years left on his contract, in a bid to offload a high-earner from the wage bill.

The introduction of someone like Pacheco is hoped to provide competition for the young - and relatively inexperienced - Meslier, as he continues his development under Marcelo Bielsa.