Championship league-leaders Marcelo Bielsa reportedly want to bring Middlesbrough’s Daniel Ayala to Elland Road – can he replace Ben White?

Daniel Ayala might not have established himself as one of the elite centre-halves in world football but a man once tipped for stardom at Liverpool by Rafa Benitez can still look back on his career with his head held high.

This 29-year-old man mountain has been one of the most reliable defenders anywhere in the Football League for over half a decade now. And, if The Star is to be believed, Ayala’s formidable performances at the heart of Middlesbrough’s backline could earn him a shot at the Premier League with none other than Leeds United.

Victor Orta, Leeds’ director of football, knows all about Ayala from his time at the Riverside.

The experienced Spaniard, who will become a free agent in the summer, has been identified as the ideal candidate to fill a Ben White-shaped void in Marcelo Bielsa’s backline once the talented loanee makes his return to Brighton.

And if Adam Clayton was not a Boro player himself, the former Leeds favourite would surely give his backing to Ayala’s proposed move to Elland Road.

“He’s a top lad. He’s one of, if not the best centre half in the league,” Clayton told the Gazette.

 

“Dan has been unbelievable. He makes us a better team and he knows that.”

White, arguably Leeds’ finest centre-half since a young Rio Ferdinand, has been perhaps the stand-out defensive talent in the entirety of the Championship over the last nine months or so.

So Ayala, a 6ft 3ins giant who isn’t exactly renowned for his technical ability or passing range, would certainly have a lot to prove at Elland Road once the Leeds fans bid an emotional farewell to White.

In other news, ‘I’d like to return home’: Everton player dreams of re-joining former club one day