Marcelo Bielsa is reportedly on the verge of agreeing a new contract at Leeds, ending fears that he could walk away from the club at the end of the season.
The Argentine’s current deal expires soon, with his tendency to only pen one-year contracts a constant source of concern for Elland Road supporters, who idolise the 65-year-old. Indeed, Bielsa did not sign his existing deal until days before the club’s first game back in the Premier League.
However, the Daily Telegraph claims there is an expectation behind the scenes that Bielsa has decided to stay. The report adds that the former Argentina coach remains completely committed to the Leeds project he started back in 2018.
Bielsa has never been one for discussing his future with the media. preferring to remain private on the matter. But he is happy and settled in Yorkshire and is ready to take Leeds to another level.
The Telegraph report adds that senior sources are “completely relaxed” and there are “no concerns” about him leaving. Bielsa has also been in constant contact with owner Andrea Radrizzani about plans for next season.
Speaking about Bielsa’s future last month, Radrizzani said: “I hope to extend it by the end of the season and I think it is possible. We are in discussions.
“There is a common will to continue and so far we have always got along well. We support Marcelo in his work and I think I can say that he is satisfied with his relations with the management of the club. Hopefully, we can continue to work together.”
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Described as a ‘man of honour’, the report states that Bielsa would have told the club by now if he wanted to move on.
The news will come as a huge relief to the Leeds faithful, who already consider the Argentine as a club legend.
Having won promotion to the top flight after 16 years away, Bielsa’s first objective was to keep Leeds up.
That has been achieved with ease and now all thoughts turn to becoming an established Premier League club again.
Alioski tipped to stay at Leeds
Meanwhile, former Scotland boss Alex McLeish is certain he knows where the future of a Leeds star persistently linked with a summer exit will lay.
Leeds have answered those that doubted their ability to bring Bielsa-ball to the top flight in emphatic fashion this season. The Whites are comfortable in mid-table, and with favourable fixtures remaining, will be hoping to finish above one Premier League giant in Arsenal.
Bielsa has transformed Leeds from top to bottom. But still relies on a significant core of players from before he took charge.
One such star is the versatile left-footer, Ezgjan Alioski. The makeshift left-back has appeared in all but two of Leeds’ league matches this season. A fan favourite, the 29-year-old consistently performs above and beyond all expectations.
A pre-contract agreement with Turkish side Galatasaray had been rumoured, though those talks recently ended for three specific reasons.
However, with his current contract expiring this summer, speculation was rife his time in West Yorkshire was coming to an end.
The North Macedonian could yet leave – against Bielsa’s wishes – but McLeish is of the firm belief his future remains at Elland Road.
Reasons to stay at Elland Road
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the Scot said: “I guess Alioski and his agent will be discussing: ‘Do you want more game time? Are you happy at Leeds? Are you happy with the role you’ve got at Leeds?’
“He’ll be happy with the money, I’m sure. When you see the season he’s had and the contribution he made last week (v Tottenham) as a converted left-back, it was fantastic.
“I would really think that he would want to stay at Leeds. Are there a lot of teams out there that would pay him the money he’s getting there? I’m sure he’d get a big signing-on fee or something.
“I think Leeds will make the approach to him, I’m sure, and I can’t see anything but Alioski signing.”