On Monday, Leeds United confirmed that fan favourite Gjanni Alisoki would be leaving the club following a four-year spell with the Whites.
Alioski will be remembered fondly at Elland Road for years to come. The Macedonian made 171 appearances for the club and has a Championship winners medal as a memento of his time in West Yorkshire.
But with the flamboyant character leaving the club on a free, the question must be asked as to where he’s going to take his talents next.
Let’s get the controversial one out of the way early. Reports surfaced earlier this year that Alisoki had agreed a pre-contract with Galatasaray, but those rumours have since cooled down. The Turkish side need a new left-back and have been linked with a few players, including former Crystal Palace full-back Patrick Van Aanholt. If Alioski were to go to Galatasaray, it would cause a division within the fanbase, and somewhat sour the memories he’s made during his time at the club.
In what would turn out to be a major plot twist, Alioski could very well join Galatasaray’s biggest rivals. Turkish outlet Takvim reported last month that Fenerbahce had been in contact with Alioski last month. Fenerbahce finished last season two points behind Galatasaray and Besiktas, so snatching their rivals’ target from under their nose would be a great way to start the season.
It was reported in April that Napoli were intrigued by the prospect of bringing Alioski to the club. The Italian side started Mario Rui at left-back for most of their games last season, with Algerian defender Faouzi Ghoulam behind him. Alioski would provide quality depth at left-back, whilst also potentially filling in for star player Lorenzo Insigne at left midfield. However, it is likely Alioski desires first-team football at this point of his career, and he’s unlikely to get that in Naples.
CSKA Moscow reportedly offered Alioski a whopping £2.1 million-a-year contract two weeks ago and with Alioski being 29 years old, he would find this difficult to turn down should these rumours be true. Turkish outlet Fanatik were the source of these rumours, and the move would make sense for both parties. CSKA Moscow suffered an underwhelming campaign last season, with the Russian giants falling to a sixth placed finish. So, they would get a solid left-back and Alioski would get a tidy wage to finish his prime years with, it’s a win-win.
Back to Turkey now, and this time it’s the champions who are interested in Alioski’s services. Besiktas finished the season with the same total of points as Galatasaray but pipped them to the title. The interest from Turkey could be due to how close the country is to Alioski’s home country, North Macedonia. Either way, the race for Alioski is seemingly as tight as the Super Lig title race last season.