Ezgjan Alioski will not be missed by Leeds due to his struggles defensively, claims Noel Whelan, and the club should take the opportunity to strengthen the left-back position.
Alioski has been at Leeds since joining from Swiss side Lugano in 2017. However, it seems more and more likely that this season will be his last at Elland Road. The wide man is out of contract at the end of the season and it is believed he already has an agreement in place to join Galatasaray.
Having made 27 appearances in the Premier League this season, Leeds will need to source a replacement. However, former player Whelan is not too concerned about the void that Alioski will leave.
Whelan believes that the North Macedonia international was not well-suited to the left-back role he has mainly been covering in.
“He was erratic at times,” Whelan told Football Insider. “He showed that naivety as a defender.
“I think at times he’s put his teammates under a lot of pressure when there’s no need to, quite frankly.
“But we always know what we’re going to get from him. Going forward he’ll give you energy, link-up play, honesty.
“But we know defending isn’t his forte. We just have to understand that. It’s going to get rectified in the summer.”
Alioski was a key part of the Leeds team that ended their long wait for promotion back to the Premier League last season. However, despite his contributions to the club, Whelan thinks the time is right for him to move on and be replaced by someone more reliable.
“We can’t just keep players because we’re emotionally attached to them,” he added. “It isn’t the way a business is run and it isn’t the way a football club should be run if you want to progress.
“It’s time to change. It’s time to get a proper left-sided wing-back who will complement Luke Ayling on that right-hand side as well.
“Alioski is a trier and I love his attitude but he struggles in the defensive department and that’s massive. So we can do without him.”
Leeds have Alioski replacement in mind
It seems Whelan is not the only one looking to the future without Alioski and that the club are already acting behind the scenes.
Reports have identified Crystal Palace full-back Patrick Van Aanholt as a top target at Elland Road. Like Alioski, he will be available as a free agent this summer.
The Dutchman has plenty of Premier League experience and that makes him an appealing option for Leeds.
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