Leeds United are the main suitors alongside Benfica and Borussia Dortmund to show interest in North Macedonian midfielder Eljif Elmas, as reported by the Athletic. He turns to be the favourite to replace national teammate Luke Alioski at the Elland Road for the upcoming season.
Eljif Elmas is exactly the player Marcelo Bielsa would love at Leeds
Elmas joined Fenerbahce in 2017 where he grew up to the stature of a fan favourite, after two years with in the first team for home club Rabotnicki. He attracted interest from all over Europe and finally joined Napoli, one of the main suitors in this case, joining the Partenopei for a sum of €17M plus add-ons in 2019.
For Napoli he made 33 league appearances last season for Napoli, with 30 of them coming of the bench as he made the most appearances on the substitute bench for any player in Europe’s top five leagues last season. While some considered him to be out of favour for then Napoli coach Gennaro Gattusso, with Luciano Spalletti now in charge, there maybe some flux in his role for the Naples side with European football to play and Napoli will desirably like to keep a prospect like him, with his contract running till 2025.
Elmas is one of the crucial players for his national side North Macedonia, playing an instrumental role in their qualification for this summer’s Euro 2020, with his innate ability to play as an inverted winger or attacking midfielder down the centre. Elmas is a strong-running midfielder with the quality to carry the ball forward almost effortlessly, making purposeful runs into the box and weaving out of tight spaces.
He has an exceptional eye for a pass with his special ability to pick up up loose balls and driving at defences and would be the perfect fit at Leeds under Marcelo Bielsa, with Alioski looking to depart. Elmas garnered acclaim for scoring the North Macedonia’s winning goal in their famous 2-1 victory in World Cup qualification over heavyweights Germany at the end of March.
“Elmas is a good guy and a very strong player. He has physique, technical skills, he is fast, ball to foot, but above all, he is fast with the mind and has a very strong character. He was born to become a great player and will become one of the best. The boy has the characteristics to work on himself and become stronger and stronger.” Elmas’s national coach, Igor Angelovski, is quite ecstatic and proud of the potential he possesses.
“We are a small nation playing big teams but we will not be overawed and we believe that we can advance from our group to the last 16,” Elmas told a news conference before the Euros.
“We know what we have accomplished is great but no one should be content to just make up the numbers at the European Championship. The tournament has been the only thing on my mind for the last three months.”
It is to see now whether Elmas decides to stay in Italy or moves out in search of favourble patches, most likely in the Premier League.