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Leeds United continued their incredibly active summer transfer window by completing the signature of winger Ezgjan Alioski from Swiss club FC Lugano, for an undisclosed fee. (BBC Sport)
The 25-year old marks the ninth arrival at the Elland Road this summer, under the new management of Thomas Christiansen, following the signings of Vurnon Anita, Caleb Ekuban, Madger Gomes, Pontus Jansson, Mateusz Klich, Hadi Sacko, Felix Wiedwald and Samuel Saiz. (Leeds United’s official website)
Alioski, a Macedonian international, had an excellent season for FC Lugano, where he managed to find the back of the net on 17 occasions from 36 games, which prompted the Whites to snap him up. With the transfer completed, let’s take a closer look at what Alioski will be able to bring to his new club.
Born on 12 February 1992, in Prilep, Macedonia, Ezgjan “Gianni” Alioski started his footballing journey with FC Flamatt, before moving to the academy of Swiss club BSC Young Boys. Having risen through the ranks, he broke into the Young Boys’ B team in 2010 as a left-back, and was a part of the team until 2013, making 57 appearances.
In 2013, he was sent out on loan to FC Schauffhausen, who made his transfer a permanent one at the end of the 2013/14 season. He spent two and a half years with the club, making 92 appearances, scoring 4 goals and recording 7 assists, before FC Lugano signed him up in January 2016 on loan until the end of the season. At the end of the term, Lugano, impressed by the player, signed him permanently for free.
He had a blistering first full season with FC Lugano, scoring 16 goals and racking up 14 assists from 34 league outings, as he helped the club to a third place finish in the Swiss Super League. Alioski finished as the third highest goal scorer in the competition and was also the third highest in terms of assists recorded in the league. Alioski joins Leeds United after having made 50 appearances for Lugano.
The 25-year old has represented the Macedonian national team at all age groups starting from the U-17s. He made his senior debut in October 2013 and since then has made 13 appearances, scoring once.
Having played as a left-back throughout most of his early career, Alioski was converted into a right-sided winger by Zdenek Zeman, his boss at FC Lugano, in 2016, and it is where he truly excelled. Towards the end of the 2015-16 campaign, he was also used as a striker, and the Macedonian international performed well in that role. Following Zeman’s departure, the next Lugano boss Andrea Manzo continued to use him on the right wing.
So, he will be able to provide Leeds with a lot of options on the field, as he can play on the right wing, as a centre-forward and as a left-sided full-back too.
The best feature of Alioski’s play is his endless reserve of stamina, which allows him to run up and down the pitch all day long. He possesses a deadly first touch and an excellent left-foot and can cause serious damage cutting in from the right-hand side, as most teams in the Swiss Super League would attest to. The 25-year old also possesses an exceptional work ethic and is never shy of putting in the hard yards defensively.
One of the major issues for Leeds last season was that there weren’t enough sources of goals apart from striker Chris Wood. With the wide players hardly making any impact last time around, it was an important area that needed to be addressed.
Alioski will do just that. He has the ability to create chances from wide areas and he himself can score in plenty. If he manages to translate his form from last season to the Championship, he could be a major player for Leeds in their bid to earn promotion.