Ezgjan Alioski will still have a favourable place in Leeds United history despite agreeing a Galatasaray pre-contract, according to Noel Whelan.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the left-back may not have realised why the switch would rile the Elland Road faithful.
As revealed by Football Insider, the 29-year-old has agreed a pre-contract deal with the Turkish giants ahead of the summer.
The news has seen a backlash from Leeds fans as a result of the intense rivalry between the two sides.
The bitterness was born after two Leeds supporters were murdered in Istanbul ahead of the clubs’ UEFA Cup semi-final in 2000.
A mural honouring Alioski was vandalised following news of the prospective switch and supporters have voiced their opposition to the move on social media.
As a result, Whelan admitted the Macedonia international, valued at £3.6million by Transfermarkt, faces a difficult end to his Leeds career.
Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “Look, he’s always going to go down in history. Some players don’t recognise certain aspects behind the club, their history and what’s gone on. They just come and play football.
“He’s done what he needed to do at the club, absolutely. It’s going to be a fragile and touchy situation for many fans on Galatasaray.
“We lost two fans out there and it’s still very sensitive at the football club.
“On one hand, I can see the way the fans are reacting. I understand why they’re upset regarding Alioski’s choice.
“It’s just personal, his personal football choice. somebody that’s got to look after their own career. He should be remembered for what he has done at Leeds.
“That’s for himself and his personal choice. We can’t change history. We wish we could and it was always gonna be divisive.”