Ezgjan Alioski won’t be at Leeds United next season.
That is according to ex-United striker and lifelong fan Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Alioski was benched for a third successive game against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Alioski — whose contract expires in June — has become a terrace favourite in his four seasons with Leeds and was a mainstay for Marcelo Bielsa in the Championship.
A regular feature of Bielsa’s starting XI, the North Macedonian has been used as a utility player this season and persistently linked with a move elsewhere.
Football Insider revealed in February that Alioski had instructed his agent to find him a new club after failing to agree terms with Leeds on a fresh deal.
Whelan predicts that Alioski will indeed depart the club in the summer and that sentiment must not be factored into the decision regarding his future.
He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “He will be on his way in summer, now. I kind of thought that anyway before he’s been sitting on the bench for a few games.
“We are now beginning to see signs about who might not be at the club next year. If you ask the majority of Leeds United fans, they will probably all say the same few players. Their time has come and we need better at the football club.
“That’s no disrespect to players like Alioski. They’ve done their job, they’ve played their part. But I think it’s time now.
“There’s no friendship in the game, we’ve got to look at what’s best for the football club and see what’s going to take them forward.
“You also give respect to the footballers who you allow to go and play regularly somewhere else.”
The versatile Alioski signed for Leeds from Swiss side Lugano in July 2017.
He has gone on to make 159 appearances for the West Yorkshire club, scoring 22 goals and chipping in with 16 assists.