Former Scotland boss Alex McLeish is certain he knows where the future of a Leeds star persistently linked with a summer exit will lay.
Leeds have answered those that doubted their ability to bring Bielsa-ball to the top flight in emphatic fashion this season. The Whites are comfortable in mid-table, and with favourable fixtures remaining, will be hoping to finish above one Premier League giant in Arsenal.
Bielsa has transformed Leeds from top to bottom, but still relies on a significant core of players from before he took charge.
One such star is the versatile left-footer, Ezgjan Alioski. The makeshift left-back has appeared in all but two of Leeds’ league matches this season. A fan favourite, the 29-year-old consistently performs above and beyond all expectations.
However, with his current contract expiring this summer, speculation was rife his time in West Yorkshire was coming to an end.
A pre-contract agreement with Turkish side Galatasaray had been rumoured, though those talks recently ended for three specific reasons.
The North Macedonian could yet leave – against Bielsa’s wishes – but McLeish is of the firm belief his future remains at Elland Road.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the Scot said: “I guess Alioski and his agent will be discussing: ‘Do you want more game time? Are you happy at Leeds? Are you happy with the role you’ve got at Leeds?’
“He’ll be happy with the money, I’m sure. When you see the season he’s had and the contribution he made last week (v Tottenham) as a converted left-back, it was fantastic.
“I would really think that he would want to stay at Leeds. Are there a lot of teams out there that would pay him the money he’s getting there? I’m sure he’d get a big signing-on fee or something.
“I think Leeds will make the approach to him, I’m sure, and I can’t see anything but Alioski signing.”
Bielsa addresses ‘Dirty Leeds’ tag
Meanwhile, Bielsa was asked whether he was concerned about the perception of Leeds from the outside. For years the Whites have had the ‘Dirty Leeds’ tag and the Argentinian coach admitted he cares about the club’s image.
Bielsa said: “It’s very common for human beings to say that they do not care what the rest of the people think. For me, it is very important what the rest think because the prestige depends on this.
“Then you have to see who the ones who have these opinions and the arguments they use to have the opinions.
“Praise that is badly founded does not generate satisfaction. And a critic without argument does not produce sadness, so the opinion of others does matter for me.
“Fundamentally, I care about the people who are close to us, what they think because the sentiment they have acts like a light. Because they are able to look at the same thing, but more calm.
“And on top of that, the happiness that it generates for them, for the team of Leeds, means that our public opinion is the most important.”
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