Real Madrid club captain Iker Casillas could be headed to Arsenal after the 2013-14 season if he does not see more playing time, according to various reports this week.
Several news outlets attributed Spanish newspaper El Confidencial as reporting that the goalkeeper is becoming dissatisfied with his lack of league appearances under manager Carlo Ancelotti and may leave in the summer transfer window.
Although the Madrid no. 1 has expressed a desire to stay several times this season, rumours indicate he is growing unhappy with his first-team opportunities, and this has grabbed the attention of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
Were the 32-year-old Spaniard to leave, he could join former Madrid teammate Mesut Özil and Spanish teammates Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal in London.
Manchester City are also alleged to have their eye on Casillas, especially considering the shaky season English keeper Joe Hart has been having. City boss Manuel Pellegrini is also interested in Barcelona’s Victor Valdes.
Goalkeeper Diego López has started every La Liga match over Casillas, who has been limited to appearances in the Copa del Ray and Champions League.
Casillas was first benched during the 2012-13 season by then-manager José Mourinho in a move that alienated the Portuguese from many of the Madrid faithful.
He has struggled to replace Lopez since, though Lopez has made a strong case for himself with fine performances.
The club captain shot down the prospect of a January transfer and has stated he is determined to work for his starting spot.
“I am fighting to be first choice,” he told Madrid’s website in November. “You can’t give up, you have to keeping fighting, make more sacrifices to get to play in every match. It is the coach’s decision and what I have to do is train and fight for that position, the same as my teammates do.”
The man referred to by fans as “San Iker” also said in November that he wants to retire at the club where he has been since signing for the youth team in 1990.
He has made more appearances than any keeper in Madrid’s history, and his personal trophy cabinet is loaded with five La Liga titles, two Champions League winners’ medals and a Copa del Ray medal.
Casillas reportedly reached an agreement with Ancelotti last week to start more games in order to prepare him for the upcoming World Cup. Spanish daily ABC reported that Ancelotti will offer the keeper more time as a courteous gesture to ensure he is in shape to be selected in Brazil in 2014.
The keeper, who is the most capped player in Spain’s history, captained his side to victory in the 2010 World Cup and both the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.