Leeds United have a handful of decisions to make in the summer when it comes to replacing players, and some players are making better cases than others.
Marcelo Bielsa hasn’t done much to overhaul any area of his squad since joining at Leeds United, but his coaching has done a lot to improve players all over the squad.
He managed to oversee Leeds’ return to the top flight in outstanding fashion last summer, but with that has come difficult decisions regarding the futures of players who helped get us to this point.
We’ve seen Barry Douglas depart for Blackburn Rovers, and we’re probably seeing the end of Pablo Hernandez’s legendary tenure at Elland Road.
However, there are players with more first-team impact this season that play in positions we need to look at recruiting for in the summer.
A fair few of the current starting lineup have cemented their starting berths for the foreseeable future and look like core parts of Leeds’ long-term vision.
That being said, there are some positions that do need looking at as we head towards the summer, from both the perspective of a rebuild and that of addressing existing players’ futures.
Romain Perraud appears to be the name most strongly linked for the former position while it remains to be seen who the club target in midfield, with Europe presenting a host of viable options at the right price.
So, the matter at hand until transfers can be made is assessing the futures of players that are in the squad for those slots right now.
The question is now being asked of Gjanni Alioski and Tyler Roberts, as their Premier League credentials are being tested as backup options to more senior names in the squad.
At the start of the season, the overriding opinion amongst Leeds fans was that the emergence of Stuart Dallas and the signing of Rodrigo could spell the end for the aforementioned duo.
Injuries throughout the squad to different areas have forced Bielsa into calling upon a number of players, with Alioski and Roberts getting the nod at the moment.
The pair are showing hugely varying levels of reliability at the moment, with Alioski’s fate all-but sealed as departing in the summer.
Meanwhile, Roberts has silenced a lot of doubts about his ability to play in the Premier League not just from moment to moment, but during a consistent run of games.
The Welsh international at the moment is looking like solving one problem for Bielsa, which is how we cope without the influence of Rodrigo in the final third and from deep in midfield.
His performance against Sheffield United might not have been against the most glamorous opposition, but his vision and movement helped us look dangerous every time we recovered the ball.
Juxtapose this with Alioski, who hasn’t really been doing anything to change the club’s mind on him and his career looks to be petering out towards a free transfer in the summer, and a better player coming to replace him.
Leeds have grown into the Premier League this season and have shown their capabilities as a fully-fledged top flight outfit, in the same way Roberts is looking like doing the same at the moment.
What we’re seeing at the moment, though, is Alioski sticking out as the one player who isn’t perhaps keeping up with the pace of the rest of the team and the rest of the league.
He’s been a terrific servant to the club, but he’s not keeping up like Roberts has stepped up and proven, so the time is coming for a replacement.
Could we see Bielsa and Leeds fans’ minds changed on Roberts for good?