Leeds have been told that Patrick van Aanholt would be a ‘ready-made replacement’ for Ezgjan Alioski, amid more claims the latter has reached a definitive decision on his future.
Alioski has played 29 times for Leeds this season and is very much a trusted member of Marcelo Bielsa’s side. However, the versatile star is out of contract in just over three months time. Talks over an extension at Leeds have been going on for some time. However, an agreement over a new deal has yet to be reached.
While Leeds were said to remain still hopeful of convincing him to stay, Football Insider now reports talks over a extension have reached a dead end. With those talks now reportedly now over, a move away from Elland Road now appears certain for Alioski.
One man tipped as his replacement is experienced Dutchman Van Aanholt.
Van Aanholt is in the final few months of his contract at Palace. Roy Hodgson – who is in the same boat – has already confirmed that talks with all players over new deals must wait until their Premier League safety is confirmed.
And with the player available on a free, Van Aanholt has been suggested as a perfect successor for Alioski in the side.
That’s certainly a move that former Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish can see happening.
And he feels Van Aanholt 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.”
Alioski was hoping to stay
Either way, it does seem the popular Alioski will be on his way this summer.
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.”