Ae there any legs in the Daniel Ayala rumours?

12 Nov 2019 04:39pm, by YorkshireSquare

The transfer rumours start early these days don’t they? We’re not even into December yet and already the paper talk has started with Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala being linked with a potential move away from Teesside this January to either Stoke or Leeds. With the Spaniards contract up next summer a move in the new year could be on the cards with Boro looking to cash in before he leaves on a free come June. With a marked value of £3.6 million according to Transfermarkt one of Middleborough’s rivals could pick up Ayala for between £2-3 million potentially.

Central defence has been an area we have lacked depth in for some time. The signing of Ben White this summer appeared to be the answer to that question but with the departure of Pontus Jansson to Brentford Leeds were down to two recognised first team central defenders yet again. Marcelo Bielsa has turned to both Gaetano Berardi and Kalvin Phillips in the past but Berardi is hot headed and we lose so much by moving Phillips out of defensive midfield. Pascal Struijk could make the step up from the U23s if required but Bielsa has not called in the young Belgian yet.

Ayala is certainly experienced, 210 matches in the Championship and 26 in the Premiership with experience of promotion too. The Premiership is probably a bit above him though so if he is looking for a move it would be to a top half of the Championship club. Leeds is an obvious link for the press to make given his past with Victor Orta but is he really a Marcelo Bielsa kind of player? He’s not exactly the ball playing central defender that Bielsa’s system requires. At 6” 2’ and powerful in the air he certainly has attributes that could help our set piece defence but he doesn’t seem like a Bielsa player.

Barring injury you would have to say he would be at least third choice behind Cooper and White, and we know how much Bielsa likes Berardi and Phillips too. Ayala would also be looking for decent wages, Boro have their own FFP issues which may tempt them into the sale but Leeds’ struggles to balance the kitty are well known and can’t afford to have top earners sat on the bench. So do we think the rumour has legs? No, not really. Unless Ben White is recalled by Brighton, they Victor may very well hit the panic button and sign a player he is familiar with.