Middlesbrough are ready to cash in on star defender Dani Ayala in January, as they can’t afford to offer him fresh terms in the summer, TEAMtalk understands.
Ayala is on big wages at The Riverside, and unless Boro’s season takes a major up-turn and they show signs that they could mount a push for the play-offs, they won’t be able to offer him similar terms.
The 29-year-old has been with Boro since 2013 and is a hugely popular figure among supporters, but his contract is due to expire in the summer meaning he could leave The Riverside on a free transfer in the summer.
Boro would be loathed to lose Ayala, but the likes of Fulham, Leeds and Stoke are already showing an interest.
Of the trio, Fulham perhaps look most likely, though Leeds’ director of football, Victor Orta, knows Ayala from his days with the Teessiders and is also a fan.
Should Ayala, or central defensive partner Dael Fry depart – Boro are looking into a possible loan move for former defender Ben Gibson, who will be allowed to leave Burnley in January.