Leeds United

Leeds United


Exclusive: Leeds offer experienced star new contract with Farke considering two other major deals

Luke Ayling and Liam Cooper are in line for new Leeds deals

Luke Ayling and Liam Cooper are in line for new Leeds deals

Leeds United are willing to offer Luke Ayling a new one-year deal, TEAMtalk understands, with Daniel Farke to also soon decide on the fate of two other experienced stars.

The Whites appear to have stabilised themselves under the management of Farke, who has quickly made himself popular with Leeds fans with his style of football and no-nonsense approach to dealing with players. And with results appearing to be on the up, Leeds went into the recent international break sat fifth in the table with five wins and just two defeats from their 11 games played so far.

While the Whites remain some nine points adrift of the second automatic promotion spot currently held by Ipswich, there is a growing optimism at Elland Road that Farke can lead Leeds back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. A tricky trip to face Farke’s former club Norwich at Carrow Road straight after the international break will illustrate how true that belief is and presents Leeds with the sort of match they will need to win if they are to seriously challenge.

Leeds will go into the game seeking a third successive win in the Championship and a fourth in five games, with only a deserved setback at Southampton blotting their copybook of late.

Indeed, looking at their line-up the last time they took the field  – a 2-1 win against Bristol City at Elland Road – Leeds only had one outfield player in their starting line-up, Pascal Struijk, who had featured for Leeds the last time they earned promotion under Marcelo Bielsa in 2020.

To that end, three of their most experienced stars who played a vital role in that success four seasons ago, in Ayling, Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas, all find themselves out of contract next summer and eligible for free transfers.

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Farke decides to extend Luke Ayling contract at Leeds

However, sources have told TEAMtalk that Leeds have already indicated to one one of those, in Ayling, that he will be offered fresh terms come January.

The hugely-popular star, while maybe no longer the force that he once was, remains one of Farke’s most trusted players, having featured 11 times so far this season.

Indeed, Farke, who started teenage prospect Archie Gray at right-back last time out with the 17-year-old putting in a Man of Match performance, is adamant that Leeds still need several experienced voices around the club if they are to challenge for promotion.

And regardless of what division Leeds find themselves in next season, we understand that Farke wants to keep Ayling around the place for a further 12 months, even if the 32-year-old can no longer be considered first choice.

Ayling is extremely settled in the city with his young family and we understand is more than willing to enter into negotiations on fresh terms.

The Whites did sign Djed Spence on a season’s loan from Tottenham in the summer and the intention had been for Ayling to potentially be phased out. But his influence both on the field and around the dressing room remains as strong as ever and it is for those reasons why Farke is happy to keep him around for that much longer.

Leeds decisions pending on Stuart Dallas and Liam Cooper

It’s a similar story too for both Dallas and Cooper, both of whom are also out of contract on June 30, 2024.

The pair, alongside Ayling, have also played significant roles in the Leeds United story in recent seasons. To that end, the trio have over 800 appearances for Leeds between them.

However, unlike Ayling, a decision on the futures of both Cooper and Dallas is yet to be made.

Dallas, for example, has not played for Leeds since April 2022, after suffering a horrendous double leg fracture against Manchester City at Elland Road.

Leeds have carefully managed his rehabilitation, careful not to rush back a player who was one of the top stars at the time. Needless to say, injuries such as his need to be treated with extreme caution, and Leeds will bide their time with Dallas before deciding whether to extend his deal.

Cooper, meanwhile, is Leeds’ longest serving player, having joined the Whites in a £600,000 deal from Chesterfield back in summer 2014, a signing at the request of former owner Massimo Cellino.

Now into his 10th season at Elland Road, Cooper has clocked up some 268 appearances for the Whites, many of them as captain.

And while the player is no longer considered first choice (Farke has tended to prefer a Joe Rodon partnership with Struijk in the heart of defence), he has still managed to feature three times this season.

Farke to make final call on Leeds captain

That may, or may not, be enough to tempt Farke into offering him a new deal and much will depend on how the intervening months will go.

However, as The Athletic points out, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Leeds also look to extend his stay by another 12 months with Farke well aware, and appreciative, of the authority the 32-year-old commands at the club.

Cooper was the subject of interest from Saudi Arabian second tier side Al Qadsiah over the summer. The move, however, not quite got off the ground with a foot injury sustained by Cooper in the season’s opener against Cardiff ultimately putting paid to those hopes.

However, the club – managed by former Leeds and Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler reportedly remain keen on his services and a fresh approach cannot be ruled out.

Nonetheless, Leeds are considering an offer to Cooper of a new 12-month deal in order to keep the player at Elland Road until 2025. However, talks over such an offer are unlikely to begin until January at best when Leeds will have a clearer indication of their intentions and plans ahead.

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