Marcelo Bielsa is set to be without Diego Llorente for up to four weeks while the Leeds head coach revealed it is up to Ezgjan Alioski about whether he wants to remain at the club beyond the end of the season.
A muscle strain had kept Llorente sidelined for several weeks and although he came in for his first Leeds start at Newcastle on Tuesday, he lasted just a few minutes before appearing to injure his hamstring at St James’ Park.
Bielsa announced Llorente faces another spell out of action as the centre-back’s stop-start time at the club following his £18million move from Real Sociedad in September continues.
“It’s a muscular injury and he’s going to be out of the team for three to four weeks. We’re all trying to help and support him through this injury,” Bielsa said as he previewed his side’s trip to Leicester on Sunday.
Bielsa, who said there are no new “important injuries” in his squad ahead of their visit to the King Power Stadium, was asked whether he thought Alioski would remain at the club past the current campaign.
The North Macedonian wide player is into the final few months of a four-year deal he signed when joining from Swiss club Lugano and has been a regular in Leeds’ rise from the Sky Bet Championship to the Premier League.
He has started in 14 of Leeds’ 19 top-flight matches this season but with speculation swirling about his future – he has been linked with a move to Turkish outfit Galatasaray this week – Bielsa offered an ambiguous update.
“I’m only one opinion with regards to the equation of whether Alioski stays or not,” the Argentinian added. “The most important thing is that he wants to stay.
“When it comes to a player staying at the club, the first and most important thing is that the player wants to stay, the player should choose the club and after the club will decide whether they want him.
“I think if Alioski chooses Leeds, Leeds will choose Alioski.”
Leeds ended a three-game losing run on Tyneside in midweek to pile the pressure on Magpies head coach Steve Bruce, but now travel to face a Foxes side who thumped them 4-1 when they met at Elland Road in November.
While Bielsa appreciates how dangerous Leicester are, even without star striker Jamie Vardy because of minor hernia surgery, he does not think the result in West Yorkshire will have any bearing on their latest showdown.
“The games are not comparable and the reality is that teams change on a weekly basis,” Bielsa added.
“But what stands out the most about Leicester is the way they combine and elaborate to attack and I think that’s the most dangerous thing about them.”