Alioski wanted at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium

30 Apr 2021 08:00 am, by Ellandback1

Good Morning. It's Friday 30th April, and here are the latest headlines from Elland Road...

Alioski wanted at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium

Galatasaray face a fight with Italian giants Napoli over the services of versatile Ezgjan Alioksi. The loveable North Macedonian may not be the most skillful player ever to grace Elland Road, but what he lacks in prowess, he makes up in heart, experience and fitness. The 29yo has certainly put a shift in when needed for the Whites. He's happy to play anywhere on the pitch, and has also netted 21 times in 156 appearances. Have we underestimated Alioski? There's a contract still on the table at Elland Road , but is it time to move on?

Dallas performances earn contract talks

Another player who's contributions regularly fly under the radar is Stuart Dallas. The Northern Ireland International has graced Elland Road since signing from Brentford in 2015 for 1.3m. Similar to Alioski, Dallas can virtually play anywhere on the pitch. In 208 appearances, he has scored 23 times. His performances this season have led to new contract negotiations. Dallas has just turned 30, and has two years left, and earns £20,000 a week; far less than most of his team mates. The hierarchy want him to commit to a further year, and will increase salary to £30,000 - £35,000

Bielsa's pre match press conference

Marcelo Bielsa met the media yesterday ahead of his side's trip to down to the seaside...

What is the latest team news?
Bielsa: Raphinha - no. Rodrigo - yes. It's difficult to know when he [Raphinha] will be back. It's a problem in the hip, until the hematoma disappears it causes pain. It can be resolved quickly or it can take a long time. When he is no longer in pain he will return. The impression we have is that he is in the final stages.

Is Rodrigo fit enough to start?
Bielsa: He's healthy. It doesn't mean he is fit to play - we will see how many minutes he can play.

Are you surprised to see Brighton fighting relegation? They won at Elland Road earlier in the season?
Bielsa: The results can sometimes coincide with the performances and other times they don't. Brighton is a team that is unfairly in the bottom part of the table. All the parameters you can consider to evaluate the team - how they attack and defend, where they spend more time on the pitch, possession, losses of the ball, their offensive intensity, all the values you can analyse has them in a higher place than they occupy.

Can finishing the season strongly give you a platform for next season?
Bielsa: To predict results is impossible. We're never going to do anything other than give 100 percent for the next game. In every game there are arguments that need to be taken into consideration. With regards to this weekend's game, the reality is what we have faced all season.

Kalvin Phillips - do you want to explore his versatility?
Bielsa: It's an option but it will take more time to verify. For Kalvin it is easy to play as a defensive midfielder or as a centre-back. But to play as a mixed midfielder - to play in front - is a position which he has already played and has done this for the England national team. For us it is an option but he's less verified for us because we have Dallas and Klich who are positioned in front of him. He can be an option.

What do you need to do better against Brighton this time?
Bielsa: What happened so many months ago is not comparable - nor for better or worse. They are not the same team and we are not. The games are not particularly alike just because the two teams are the same. To find modifications that facilitate to obtain a better result - we don't think about a game that happened such a long time ago. [We know] in ourselves we need to improve and conserve and in the analysis of the team in more recent games.

Do you share Andrea Radrizzani's optimism that you'll sign a new deal?
Bielsa: Any reference to this subject I prefer to make it after the competition is finished. I appreciate the words of the owner and president with regards to my possible continuity. I also agree with what he said in that Leeds is above any others. Due to the solidness of the organisation they have the facility to make correct decisions.

View all Showing latest five comments of eleven...

Lumiukko wrote on 30 Apr 2021 06:12 pm

I'd like him to stay too. Even though I want us to get a top LB, Alioski is versatile and can fill many positions in a pinch always giving 100% and without complaint. Just like Dallas, this type of player is invaluable. Keeping Alisoki would also be of huge importance should we decide to treat cup games with more verve. Lastly, he seems to be the right kind of lad to have around the dressing room. If he does go, then Napoli would definitely be a better choice than THAT Turkish club for all the obvious reasons.

Not sure will they extend his contract so much has give him a very good payrise for the remainder (much deserved as well). Like Dallas, Meslier and Raphinha will need negotiations this summer too to extend and raise their pay.

This man is so great and humble. On the question about Kalvin, I am not sure Kalvin is the right fit for being much further forward. When was the last time we saw him take a shot or score a goal? Granted he has been a DM/CB, or taken the corners, but I see players like Kante and Ndidi take more shots and play similar positions. I'd rather Dallas/someone else continue in that role. Dallas has an excellent shot on him (Klich used to have too before he lost his legs a bit for some yet unexplained reason).

mothbanquet wrote on 30 Apr 2021 05:30 pm

I think we can improve on Alioski, but that's not to say I undervalue him as a player. I just think there are full backs out there who will improve our game, but it's a testament to Alioski himself that those FB/WBs will have to be top tier to beat him. I wish him all the best for the future and he'll always have the supreme honour of having played a part in returning Leeds United to glory.

Very happy to see Dallas kept on. Given his age I get the feeling he'll be happy being the squad player we've always valued him as, even if he's superseded in MF by more specialised players.

It certainly sounds like Bielsa has complete faith in Radz and co, and how they're running the club. That's really all we need to hear.

John in Louisiana wrote on 30 Apr 2021 12:56 pm

Cjay wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:00 am

That being said he is 30 now and has a contract until 2023 by which time he will be 32, so why offer a new contract?
Can't ask him to to be all for Leeds if Leeds are not all for Dallas. Pay him what he's worth.

Anybody else ever deserve a raise and not gotten it?

John in Louisiana wrote on 30 Apr 2021 12:53 pm

When we say our side are greater than the sum of its parts, Alioski and Dallas are precisely who we're talking about.

Who knows how successful either would be elsewhere, but their attributes make them perfect for us. They play anywhere, do whatever is asked of them gladly, and leave their hearts on the pitch every game. In other words, all Leeds, aren't they.

If Alioski is interested in leaving, I would ask him to grant us right of first refusal. in other words, before signing a deal elsewhere, bring it to Radz and give him the opportunity to match it. A player who can play multiple positions is invaluable for a manager like Bielsa, who prefers a small squad. It also takes a long time to learn everything you need to in order to work in Bielsa's system. Even if Alioski stays as a bench player, he'd probably still get enough minutes to make him happy. Keep him, if we can.

Byebyegeegee wrote on 30 Apr 2021 12:05 pm

Cjay wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:00 am

That being said he is 30 now and has a contract until 2023 by which time he will be 32, so why offer a new contract?
I must have missed the fact that his current contract runs till 2023. Good point Clay!