Nigel Martyn has told LeedsUnited.News that both Gjanni Alioski and Kiko Casilla could follow Pablo Hernandez and Gaetano Berardi in playing their last game for Leeds on Sunday afternoon – and exiting the club this summer. However, there has been no announcement regarding Alioski’s future, and Casilla remains contracted at Elland Road until 2023.
Tributes were aplenty on Sunday afternoon as Berardi and Hernandez started during the 3-1 win over West Brom – lasting the best part of 70 minutes as Leeds eased past the relegated Baggies. Hernandez ends a five-year stint at Leeds, while Berardi has spent seven years in Yorkshire.
But they might not be the only players leaving Leeds this summer that played on Sunday. Alioski, 29, has been a mainstay for Leeds during the second half of the season and while his contract is due to expire on June 30, the North Macedonia star showed no signs of waving goodbye to fans.
At least, that is what Martyn believes. The Leeds legend reckons that if Alioski was to depart Marcelo Bielsa’s side this summer – then surely he would have been emotional as the Leeds players did a lap of honour in front of returning fans. But Martyn also thinks a decision would have already been made by now, if he was going to stay at Leeds.
“I thought I heard before it was going to be renewed, but until it happens you’re not sure,” Martyn told LUN. “There was nothing obvious from the player himself when he was walking off, the big wave or anything as you do in your lap honour. Who knows. He’s done well in that position, but he isn’t a natural left-back.
“If a team is strong on the right, they will attack. But what it does give you is bundles of energy and physical commitment to the side. He is forward and back, and he is a good footballer. His passing is good, intelligent – in a football sense. It wouldn’t be the worst decision in the world, but you kind’ve think it would’ve been done by now.”
Meanwhile, Casilla has endured a tricky couple of seasons at Leeds – but he was afforded the last two Premier League games against Southampton and West Brom, clocking up three league games in total as Illan Meslier’s back-up. Bielsa likes him, according to Martyn, but the Leeds icon questioned whether Casilla will want to stay as second-choice – despite having a contract for another two seasons at Elland Road.
“He’s done reasonably well since he’s come back in. It’s not been an easy season for him, the last couple of seasons have been difficult. He has almost been suffering. I imagine he would have been pretty low after the Crawley defeat – Meslier has come in and done really well, where do they start with him next season?
“Does he want to be there? Does the manager want him to be there? Bielsa has given him the last couple of games so he thinks something of him. He might be there next season, that didn’t look likely earlier this season.”