Leeds urged to sign free agent as Alioski agrees to leave
Leeds United should sign Crystal Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt on a free transfer this summer to replace Ezgjan Alioski, according to Alex McLeish.
The North Macedonia international has reportedly agreed a pre-contract deal with Turkish club Galatasaray with his contract up in the summer.
The Leeds wing-back has been one of the stars of Marcelo Bielsa’s time in Yorkshire but Football Insider claims that talks over a possible extension have reached a dead end.
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The Daily Mirror recently linked Palace’s Van Aanholt to Leeds with Bielsa ‘on the lookout for a new left-back after failing to bring one in during the January transfer window.’
And McLeish reckons Van Aanholt – who is also out of contract at Palace in the summer – would bring an “assuredness” to Bielsa’s backline.
“Bielsa’s played Dallas and Alioski at left-back. He’s not really got a fixed specialist in that position,” McLeish told Football Insider.
“It depends on the legs, how old’s Van Aanholt now? Just 30? Well he should be kind of at the peak. You know what players are like these days, they can move easily and it’s a right few bob.
“The main thing is if he’s still playing to a level of Premier League players. If he’s still got his speed and that then that’s a no-brainer. He can bring an assuredness in defence as well.”
Speaking to the BBC in December, Alioski said: “I’m enjoying my life with Leeds and playing in the Premier League.
“My focus is with Leeds… We’re like a family.”
On the possbility of a new contract, Alioski added: “Still nothing has happened. My contract ends next year. I’m not thinking that I want to leave Leeds. I would love to stay here.”
Meanwhile, Leeds forward Tyler Roberts thinks taking the knee before matches has lost its impact ahead of Wales’ opening 2022 World Cup qualifier in Belgium.
“It is a great thing that brings all the players together and the football world should be proud of that,” Roberts said.
“But it is not doing too much when you see the social media abuse that has been going on the past weeks and months. I feel it has lost its impact.
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“It is concerning as it is too easy for these people to create these accounts to send abusive comments and get away with it.
“It is something that needs to happen a lot higher up.”