Ezgjan Alioski is set to join Turkish giants Fenerbahce, according to Ajansspor.
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A crucial figure during the club’s successful season last time out, the 29-year-old recently left Elland Road despite the offer of a new contract.
While he had been linked with what would have been a deeply unpopular move to Galatasaray, a move to their Istanbul rivals reportedly looks likely.
Both clubs, along with Trabzonspor, are thought to have contacted him about a move but it appears to be Fenerbahce who have won the race despite interest from CSKA Moscow.
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Will Leeds miss Alioski?
Although the signing of Junior Firpo from Barcelona has surely been made in order to try and replace the North Macedonia international, the nature of transfers does come with some kind of inherent risk.
It’s not that Firpo can’t replace him, it’s just Alioski formed a crucial part of their set-up last time out. Indeed, he started 29 times for Marcelo Bielsa’s side during their return to the top tier of English football and, according to FBREF data, he formed a pivotal part of their pressing system.
Across the 2020/21 campaign, only Luke Ayling and Kalvin Phillips produced more pressing actions in the defensive third than Alioksi (243), while his 217 in the middle third of the pitch was the sixth-highest in the squad.
On a per-game basis, only five players to have featured in more than 20 games contributed more interceptions (1.32) and just two members of the entire squad made more tackles (3).
Based on those statistics, as well as the fact Bielsa seemingly wanted to keep him at the club, it seems fair to suggest Leeds will miss him until Firpo proves whether or not he can be an adequate replacement.
What have Leeds said about Alioski?
In a statement released on the club’s official website earlier this month, Leeds moved to thank the player for his time in West Yorkshire.
“I knew Gjanni was going to be special the moment he walked into the building,” said Director of Football, Victor Orta.
“The emotion I saw in his face and the face of his parents when signed his contract here at Elland Road was a beautiful moment and I was sure he was going to give everything for Leeds United.
“Even with this in mind he exceeded my expectations.
“Gjanni has been exceptional both on and off the field, his teammates will miss him greatly, as will all of the staff at Thorp Arch and Elland Road.
“We thank Gjanni for all of his efforts and we wish him every success for the future.”
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