Leeds United are reportedly interested in luring Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala to Elland Road this summer as the Spaniard’s contract looks set to expire in June – and former Whites star Adam Clayton is seemingly a big fan of the defender.
The Northern Echo recently reported that the Whites are monitoring 29-year-old Spanish defender Ayala, while The Star has claimed that the former Liverpool defender will leave Middlesbrough this summer when his contract ends.
Ayala, who has clocked up a whopping 216 appearances in the Championship and has found the back of the net 22 times, is believed to be the ball-playing type of defender that Marcelo Bielsa favours – and was linked in January.
Certainly, former Leeds midfielder Clayton is a big fan of Ayala and claimed back in 2015 that the Spain Under-21 international is one of the best defenders at Championship level – describing him as “unbelievable”.
“Dan has been unbelievable,” Clayton said in 2015, during an interview with the Gazette. “When Dan wasn’t in the team for that two-month period we weren’t as good, he makes us a better team and he knows that.
“People make mistakes and it’s just the way it is, but we’ll get around Dan, he’s a top lad and he’ll be fine next season. He’s one of, if not the best centre half in the league.”
Leeds certainly need a central defender this summer with Ben White still only on loan at Elland Road, while Gaetano Berardi is in a similar boat to Ayala at the Riverside – in that his contract is due to expire at the end of the season.
Even if White is signed permanently, which is a possibility, another central defender as cover for the Brighton ace and skipper Liam Cooper would be excellent business. Certainly, if Clayton’s comments are anything to go by, Ayala must be signed.