Leeds United are making a major howler over Gjanni Alioski, and it surely won’t have Marcelo Bielsa happy.
The Whites have already waved goodbye to the likes of Pablo Hernandez and Gaetano Berardi following the end of the Premier League season, and Alioski has also been linked with an exit from Elland Road this summer, with his contract coming to an end soon.
However, the club’s director of football, Victor Orta, has indicated that he and Alioski have had some positives talks “face to face”, and it appears a new contract may be on the way for the left-back.
He said: “I don’t know. He has a contract until the 30th of June. He understands our position, I understand his position. The last two days we have had good conversations face to face. That is really necessary. I ask him three things: his answer made me very happy. Now it is on his side.
“Now, he needs to decide on the player he is next season. It is not about Leeds, it is about his personal intention. I have to praise Gjanni on one thing. Gjanni does not have a big contract, but the level of intensity that Gjanni played the last 10 games without a contract? It makes me so proud. He played the last 10 games with that physicality and intensity.
“It convinced me a lot. It makes me think, is he playing for a new team? But then, he has had offers before – I know he has had offers. But he is playing at this level because he wants to stay. I feel really proud. His behaviour from start to finish has been absolutely amazing.”
While the £55k-a-week earning Alioski may have enjoyed a decent end to the season – including a really impressive display in the victory over Spurs – it still doesn’t mask the fact that overall, he’s been a bit of a let-down for Bielsa and someone who makes costly mistakes defensively – something Noel Whelan has previously blamed him for.
He told Football Insider: “Alioski was diabolical to be quite honest with you. The free-kick, where he is trying to get a megs in the wrong area, that was his first mistake. The second mistake was back to the Alioski of old.
“We saw that weakness on the left-hand side again. The right thing was to take him off, 100 per cent. He was a liability. Another game which highlighted our need to go into the market for a left-back.”
He added: “Leeds need a natural full-back there that you know can cover most bases, definitely defensively because as much as he gives everything, he is a liability. He’s not the best of defenders.”
Reports have already linked the Whites with a move for Stade Brest’s Romain Perraud, and given Alioski’s performances, it’s surely time for Leeds to move on.
If the Whites want to take the next step, then being ruthless with players, even those as long-serving as Alioski, needs to happen. Giving him a new deal will have Bielsa fuming at keeping someone who he quite frankly can’t trust in his starting line-up over the long-term.
Meanwhile, Graham Smyth has dropped an exciting update…