'I don't have it clear' - Marcelo Bielsa addresses Gjanni Alioski's Leeds United contract negotiations and future
Marcelo Bielsa has no indication of which way Gjanni Alioski's Leeds United future will pan out but is in favour of keeping the left-back at Elland Road.
Leeds' North Macedonian international is out of contract in the summer and is yet to sign the deal on the table. Rumours of a move to Galatasaray have persisted throughout this season, without denial from Alioski and with the summer approaching the lack of news on an agreement with Leeds makes a departure seem the likeliest outcome.
Bielsa is unsure of the player's intentions and will evidently not insert himself in whatever negotiations go on between Alioski and Leeds. He declined to even offer an opinion on whether or not Alioski should accept the deal to stay in West Yorkshire. It's a private matter for the 29-year-old and director of football Victor Orta, insists the head coach.
"I don't have it clear what decision Alioski is going to take," he said.
"When a player resolves his contractual situation with a club, they operate with offers and demands like is natural. In this case there are private negotiations between the club and the player and in no way should I have an opinion. In no way should my opinion impact on what is going to happen with Alioski."
What Bielsa can say is that if a deal is reached to extend Alioski's stay, it will meet with his approval, something which has been made almost abundantly clear by the head coach's continued trust in the player in Premier League games.
Of Leeds' 34 top flight fixtures, Alioski has started 25 and appeared off the bench in seven, having been fit and available for every game. Only twice has Bielsa kept him on the bench as an unused substitute. Although there have been games in which the left-back area has presented issues for Leeds, most recently at Brighton last weekend when Alioski conceded a penalty and struggled before being withdrawn at the interval, he has produced solid displays against elite opposition. He will go into the summer's European Championships full of confidence having retained Bielsa's backing, but with Leeds known to be lining up a new signing in his position, what lies beyond the major international tournament is still uncertain.
"If Alioski continues with us, I will be satisfied," said Bielsa.
"But the conditions that will allow Alioski to continue with us or not - that will be decided by Alioski and the club and any option that Alioski takes will be a legitimate one and the position of the club is natural, in that they will have to do what they can.
"What I can say is that if Alioski and the club decide to continue the relationship then I will be in favour of this decision but the way in which the agreement is obtained or not - there are many variables that are calculated from the club on one side and from Alioski on the other. And those variables, I don't know what they are and I try not to influence someone's decision. I obviously have the obligation to say that if Alioski continues, whether I think it is a good idea or it's not. If I think it's okay or not, good or bad - that the next season he will be at the club. But for me to say that it is good, I have already said that it is good.
"After it's natural that the club judges on what position they take and that Alioski evaluates his personal position and this has so many looks or variables that is not convenient for me to say."