Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has offered Gjanni Alioski a new contract as they look to keep him at Elland Road.
With the 29-year-old’s existing deal at Elland Road coming to an end this summer, previous reports had suggested that Alioski had agreed a pre-contract with Galatasaray, before Graham Smyth delivered an update on his future earlier in the week.
He reported: “It was at least the second time Orta conversed with a left-back last week, having sat down with Gjanni Alioski to discuss his future with Leeds.
“Regardless of whether or not Alioski remains, Leeds will still seek to buy a left-back, but they are still keen to keep their North Macedonian international. He’s yet to accept the offer and, at 29 years of age, can’t be blamed for thinking long and hard about what might be his last, potentially lucrative deal and putting his family’s future first.”
Football Insider have now claimed that Leeds have 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.”
Already earning around £55,000 per week – only four Leeds players earn more than him right now – handing a new bumper deal to Alioski would be a massive blunder for someone who looks set to be phased out of the team.
As Smyth says, irrespective of what happens with the defender, the Whites are intent on buying a new left-back, a move which would surely see Alioski drop to the bench. Making him one of the club’s highest-earners, when he’s set to turn 30 early next year, seems very ill-judged, no matter how popular he may be in the dressing room.
The left-back can be incredibly shaky defensively, with last season in the Premier League seeing him concede two penalties which led to goals, while he also made two errors which led directly to shots.
He also averaged the third-most fouls per game in the entire Leeds squad, while he was dribbled past the fourth-most.
Going forward, Alioski didn’t offer much either despite playing in a Leeds side who have come to play some attacking football.
He averaged a rather unimpressive 0.7 shots and 0.8 key passes per game, while he only managed 0.3 dribbles per match – to put that into context, even centre-back Diego Llorente averaged more dribbles than him, as per WhoScored.
The news coming out from Thorp Arch that Bielsa is handing Alioski a new and improved contract is a real shock, and one which has all the hallmarks of being a real howler for someone who, at his age, is likely set to decline over the coming seasons.