Ezgjan Alioski’s defensive failings are “massive” and Leeds United will not miss him when he leaves for arch-rivals Galatasaray in the summer.
That is according to ex-Leeds goalscorer and boyhood fan Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively after Football Insider revealed that the 29-year-old has agreed pre-contract terms with the 22-time Super Lig champions.
Leeds have had an intense rivalry with the Istanbul-based side since the murder of two away fans ahead of the Uefa Cup semi-final on Turkish soil in 2000.
Alioski has become a cult figure at Elland Road and so his departure to Galatasaray will sting Leeds fans doubly.
The 39-time international has featured 27 times for Marcelo Bielsa’s side in the league this season, primarily as a left-back.
Whelan was quick to praise Alisoki’s attacking attributes but highlighted his defensive shortcomings as he claimed it is time for Leeds to move on.
He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “He was erratic at times. 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.
“We can’t just keep players because we’re emotionally attached to them. 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.”
Alioski signed for Leeds from Swiss side Lugano in July 2017.
He has gone on to feature on 162 occasions during his time in West Yorkshire, scoring 22 and laying on 16 assists.