Reported Leeds United target Daniel Ayala will be dropped by Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate when the Championship resumes after refusing to sign a contract extension, according to the Northern Echo.
Charlton Athletic are not the only second-tier side who will have to battle against relegation without one of their key players.
After Lyle Taylor made it clear that he wouldn’t play for the Addicks again for fear of suffering a serious injury which would wreck his chances of securing a ‘life-changing move’, it seems that Ayala has taken an identical stance.
The Spanish centre-back is due to become a free agent on July 1.
And, according to The Mail, he has made it clear that he will not sign a short-term contract extension which would allow him to play for Middlesbrough until the 2019/20 season comes to an end, sparking fury throughout the Riverside fanbase.
Boro have two games on the docket before next month begins, a home clash against Swansea City and a trip to Stoke.
But Ayala will not be featuring in either fixture, with Woodgate opting to put his faith in the likes of Dael Fry, Harold Moukoudi and Ryan Shotton instead.
You can understand the manager’s stance; with Championship safety on the line, he cannot afford to rely on a player who has clearly had his head turned.
6ft 3ins Ayala might not be the archetypal Marcelo Bielsa player but, with his size and formidable leap, he could perhaps solve Leeds’ Achilles heel.
The Whites have been vulnerable at set pieces ever since selling Pontus Jansson to Brentford. But Ayala, with 3.9 clearances per game on average, is a monster in the air.