After leaving Leeds United on a free transfer last summer, Gjanni Alioski has quickly set about finding his feet in his new home of Ah Ahli in Saudi Arabia.
The North Macedonia international played 171 times for the Whites in his spell at Elland Road, scoring 22 times and providing a further 19 assists. His all-action displays and certainly a maverick personality made him a bit of a fan favourite, and it was no surprise that Victor Orta penned a touching farewell note for him.
He said: “I knew Gjanni was going to be special the moment he walked into the building. The emotion I saw in his face and the face of his parents when (he) signed his contract here at Elland Road was a beautiful moment and I was sure he was going to give everything for Leeds United.
“Gjanni has been exceptional both on and off the field, his teammates will miss him greatly, as will all of the staff at Thorp Arch and Elland Road. We thank Gjanni for all of his efforts and we wish him every success for the future.”
And how has he succeeded at Ah Ahli.
In 21 top-flight games, Alioski has scored five goals and provided another seven assists despite predominantly playing at left-back, and that level of attacking threat is something Leeds have dearly missed this season.
Indeed, last summer, former Scotland manager Alex McLeish raved about the versatile ace and how much he had improved, saying: “For me, he’s been amazing, that guy. Alioski was like a jumping jack, a firework, the way he would do some really clever things, run at people and get balls in the box. Then all of a sudden he’s been asked to become a defender and a wing-back.
“I’ve got to say Leeds’ season was a big success and he was one of the players that helped to make it a big success. He’s had a cracking season. He’s probably short of being a top-class wing-back but he’s made certainly made a great attempt at it. Alioski is a player who’s surprised me very much in the wing-back role.”
The 30-year-old played 36 of the 38 Premier League games last season, with the only two fixtures he missed coming in the opening five matches. The versatile ace even chipped in with three assists in the last eight games in the top flight as Leeds enjoyed a superb end to the season.
While Alioski is enjoying life elsewhere, the Whites must be looking at the 30-year-old and wondering whether then-manager Marcelo Bielsa and co could have really pushed the boat out to try and keep him at Elland Road.