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Leeds signing this 29-year-old Championship star would boost a key area for Bielsa next season

Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala clears the ball
Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala clears the ball

Why Leeds United signing Daniel Ayala will be a good move

According to a report from the print edition of Mirror (h/t Yorkshire Post), Middlesbrough centre-back Daniel Ayala is ‘expected’ to join Leeds United when his contract with the Teessiders expires this summer.

The 29-year-old came through the youth ranks at Sevilla, before joining Liverpool youth setup in 2007. However, he made just five first-team appearances for the Reds. Instead, for the most of his spell at the club, he was shipped out on loan. The Spaniard had temporary spells at Hull City and Derby County before he joined Norwich City permanently in 2011.

However, he managed just 10 appearances for the Canaries, before being shipped out on loan to Nottingham Forest in 2012. He then switched to Middlesbrough on loan in October 2013, before the transfer was made permanent in January 2014. Till date, he has featured 216 times for Boro, producing 23 goals and 7 assists.

Daniel Ayala has been a regular for Middlesbrough since 2014 (Getty Images)
Daniel Ayala in action for Middlesbrough (Getty Images)

Leeds United need reinforcements at centre-back

Leeds United sit at the top of the table and are primed to secure promotion to the Premier League once the season resumes. Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been impressive at both ends of the pitch this term, but lack depth in the squad in a number of positions, including the centre-back department.

In the ongoing campaign, Leeds have used three centre-backs in captain Liam Cooper, Gaetano Berardi and on-loan star Ben White. However, the latter will return to parent club Brighton & Hove Albion once his loan deal expires. In addition, Berardi will also be out of contract at the end of the season. Hence, bringing in a new centre-back must be a priority for Leeds.

Having said that, signing Ayala on a free transfer would be a wise move by the Whites. The 29-year-old has been a regular for Middlesbrough since joining the club and has gathered vast experience. In the ongoing season, the Spaniard has featured 25 times in the Championship this term, captaining the team in almost each of these matches. He has also scored a couple of goals.

Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala clears the ball
Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala clears the ball

Ayala has spent his entire professional career in England. He has made over 200 appearances in the Championship, while he also has some Premier League exposure as well. This sort of experience would come in very handy to Leeds United. A leader of the pack, his presence would further solidify Leeds, while adding depth to a key position.

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Verdict

At 29, Ayala still has plenty left to offer at this level. Given his experience and proven pedigree, the Spaniard would be improving the quality and depth of Leeds United’s centre-back department. The Whites must secure a new defender this summer and Ayala’s availability on free transfer makes him a low-risk option for the club.

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