Report: Middlesbrough prepared for Leeds' Ayala approach

Marcelo Bielsa, manager of Leeds United arrives prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Queens Park Rangers at Elland Road on November 02, 2019 in Leeds, England.

Daniel Ayala could reportedly leave Boro for Championship rivals Leeds United as Marcelo Bielsa hopes to bring a new defender to Elland Road.

Lewis Wing of Middlesbrough celebrates after scoring his team's first goal with Daniel Ayala of Middlesbrough during the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Middlesbrough and Crystal...

Middlesbrough are fully aware of Leeds’ interest in Daniel Ayala as The Whites line up a 'formal' January approach for the giant Spaniard, according to the Northern Echo.

Leeds might have conceded fewer goals (nine) than any other Championship team this season but there is a feeling that Marcelo Bielsa’s side could do with just one more option at centre-back. After all, beyond Ben White and the increasingly injury-prone Liam Cooper, there is a lack of real depth while the club’s tendency to concede goals from set pieces is becoming a real concern.

 

Ayala, who stands at 6ft 2ins, could perhaps fill a Pontus Jansson-like role in Leeds’ squad while strengthening their Achilles heel.

The Echo claims that Leeds have been following Ayala for a while with director of football Victor Orta knowing the one-time Liverpool youngster from his time at the Riverside. And Middlesbrough are aware of Leeds' interest in a player whose contract is due to expire in the summer.

Last season's play-off semi finalists are also set to make a 'formal approach', meaning they will more than likely make contact with Middlesbrough to discuss the possibility of doing a deal.

Captain Daniel Ayala of Middlesbrough in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Middlesbrough and Fulham at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough on Saturday 26th October 2019.

Parachute payments are over and the spectre of Financial Fair Play is looming over the Riverside, meaning Boro may be forced to cash in on one of their best-paid players in January to avoid losing him on a free.

And given that Middlesbrough are aware of Leeds’ interest, this is a transfer saga that is only set to rumble on over the next few weeks.

Boro paid £350,000 to sign Ayala from Norwich (Gazette) and they will be expecting to make a big profit, even if his contract only has a couple of months left to run.

Daniel James of Swansea City is tackled by Daniel Ayala of Middlesbrough during the Sky Bet Championship match between Swansea City and Middlesbrough at the Liberty Stadium on April 06,...

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