Leeds United fans will surely be gutted after Gjanni Alioski’s exit from Elland Road this summer was officially confirmed.
Football Insider had initially claimed that Marcelo Bielsa’s team had submitted a new and improved deal to tie down Alioski, with a source revealing that the “club hierarchy are pulling out all the stops to keep him hold of the versatile left footer”.
The report added: “The Yorkshire giants are hopeful the improved, big-money offer will convince Alioski to stay at Elland Road. It would represent a major U-turn from the cult hero and fans favourite.”
However, the Whites have now confirmed that the North Macedonian has indeed now left Elland Road for good, with Victor Orta delivering a thank you message on the club’s official website.
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 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.”
While the 29-year-old had his moments of madness and questionable performances last season in the Premier League, the versatile ace’s commitment to the cause could not be questioned, with former Scotland boss Alex McLeish a big fan.
He said: “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.”
Alioski played 36 of the 38 games in the top-flight last season, with the only two games he missed coming in the opening five outings – in fact, the 29-year-old even chipped in with three assists in the final few weeks of the campaign to end on a real strong note.
Given that Leeds fans had already made their feelings clear about how they desperately wanted to keep Alioski, this latest news from Thorp Arch should have them absolutely gutted.
And, the fact he was a crucial and ever-present part of the first-team last season, and that Leeds reportedly pulled out all the stops to keep him, means this is a huge blow and setback for Bielsa and the club as a whole.