Nigel Martyn has told LeedsUnited.News that he reckons the fact Gjanni Alioski is about to enter the last two months of his contract is a sign that the North Macedonia international will be leaving Elland Road this summer – despite his recent excellent form, including a stunning performance against Manchester United on Sunday. There is only a ‘slim chance’ he will stay, according to the Leeds and England icon.
Alioski, 29, is out of contract at the end of June. It is a situation that sees Alioski enter the European Championships this summer still contracted to the Yorkshire club but by the time the Euros are over, Alioski will have seen his Leeds deal expire. The left-back, who can also play out wide, has been strongly linked with the club’s bitter rivals Galatasaray – with Turkey bordering his native Macedonia.
Despite his contract status, Alioski has been crucial for Leeds – especially since the turn of the year. The left-footer has started 13 of the club’s 17 Premier League games from January 2 onwards, making the left-back slot his own with Stuart Dallas moving into the middle of the park – replacing the out-of-form Mateusz Klich. Against Man United, he was up there with the club’s best performers – along with Pascal Struijk and Kalvin Phillips.
Leeds have been linked with a handful of left-backs in Romain Perraud, Miguel Gutierrez and Patrick van Aanholt and asked whether Leeds might look to keep Alioski off the back of his recent, excellent form, Martyn stated that there remains a “slim chance” of him staying at Leeds. But the Whites icon believes that given the lack of time left on his current deal, Alioski will be waving goodbye to the Yorkshire side on June 30.
“If it has been left this long, than A) they’ve agreed to do something at the end of the season or B) club or player have decided they are not interested,” Martyn told LeedsUnited.News, when discussing Alioski. “If I’m being perfectly honest, if it was going to be done it will have already been done. It is probably the player running down his contract. That is most likely. Secondly, Bielsa might have someone lined-up for next season and third, there is a slim chance, he could sign up on another year.”
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Leeds do have other options on the left side of the defence. Dallas, of course, started the season in that position while Leif Davis has impressed for the Under-23’s as Mark Jackson’s reserves gained promotion to the top tier of Premier League 2. He has been given the odd run out, while Niall Huggins has also made his debut at senior level for Leeds this season – a substitute appearance during the 4-2 away defeat to Arsenal at The Emirates.
If Alioski leaves, a new signing will be targeted and even if Alioski does sign on with Leeds between now and the end of the season – Leeds will probably still look to add to their options in that position. Martyn continued, suggesting that Alioski’s recent form might even be because he is motivated by enticing a new employer – but labelled the £2million (YEP) signing as a “fan favourite” for his “off-the-wall” antics.
“One of the parties is saying no, and it is either the player because he can get a nice contract somewhere or the club do not see him as a a long-term solution at left-back but he has been really good in the last few games,” Martyn said. “He is a fan favourite and is a bit off the wall, he always gives it all. But is he doing that for his next employer.”