Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United reportedly want to raid Championship rivals Daniel Ayala from Jonathan Woodgate’s Middlesbrough this summer.
Middlesbrough legend Bernie Slaven feels the time is right to part ways with Daniel Ayala amid speculation linking the long-serving centre-back with Championship rivals Leeds United, while speaking to Teesside Live.
Seven years after he packed his bags and swapped Norwich City for the north east, the Spanish centre-back is expected to be on the move again with his long spell at the Riverside coming to an end.
Ayala is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2019/20 campaign and the Northern Echo reports that a move to Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds is on the cards.
The Whites will be in the market for a new centre-half once Ben White returns to parent club Brighton and Hove Albion, although question marks remain about whether the 6ft 3ins Ayala has the technical ability to thrive with Leeds’ possession-based tactics.
While most Boro fans would love to see Ayala sign extended terms, legendary striker Slaven thinks the 29-year-old needs a fresh start.
“I’ve always been a fan of Dani Ayala, he always gives 110%. But, again, I think he’s been here too long as well,” says a man who plundered 146 goals for Middlesbrough between 1985 and 1993.
“We need to change things. I just feel we need to freshen things up, try some different ideas and adopt an entertaining style of football for the next few years.”
Boro owner Steve Gibson has spent the best part of the last year attempting to slash the wage bill, and the Echo adds that the Championship strugglers could save around £5 million by letting some of their top earners, like Adam Clayton, Rudy Gestede and Ayala himself, walk out the door.