According to a recent report from the Express, Leeds United are considering a move for Middlesbrough’s defender Daniel Ayala. The Whites are set to lose the services of Ben White in the summer as he is going to return to Brighton. United’s hierarchy have turned their attention towards Ayala, who has been a mainstay for the Teessiders in the last few years.
Ayala’s contract is set to expire in the summer, and he is expected to leave Middlesbrough regardless of whether they manage to beat the relegation race. Hence, Leeds United have a chance to sign him on a free transfer in the coming few months.
Why Leeds United need defenders?
The Whites are firmly in control over their destiny to reach the English top-flight as they hold the top spot in the Championship. There is no doubt that Bielsa and Co will have to reinforce their squad significantly once they make it to the Premier League.
The defence is one area where they will definitely need to add more than one option. Gaetano Berardi is in the final few months of his deal, and there is no indication that he would stay at Elland Road beyond this campaign. Ben White is likely to return to Brighton, and that would leave Bielsa with only one centre back in the form of Liam Cooper.
What can Ayala bring to the table?
Ayala is vastly experienced at the Championship level, and he has played in the English top-flight before. The former Liverpool defender is known for his strength and physicality. Ayala is a strong force in the air, and that is something which Leeds United sometimes lack as they have conceded some goals from set-pieces.
He is also known as a good reader of the game. The defender will bring strength and solidity at the back. However, Ayala is not known for his ability to play out from the back, and that is something important in Bielsa’s side.
Nevertheless, on a free transfer, he can be a handy option to have even at the Premier League level. His experience would be valuable. He might not be a first-choice option if Leeds United go on to sign another top defender at Elland Road, but Ayala can turn out to be a clever piece of business as he can be more than a decent squad player in the English top flight.