Leeds turn back on deal to sign free agent defender from Champ rivals

Date published: Wednesday 24th June 2020 3:11

Sam Gallagher, Daniel Ayala TEAMtalk

Leeds United have rejected a possible deal to sign Daniel Ayala, according to a report.

The towering Spanish star will leave Middlesbrough after coming to the end of his contract at the Riverside.

The former Liverpool academy graduate has already left the Teessiders after rejecting their offer to extend his stay beyond June 3o. That would have let him play in the club’s remaining Championship matches as Boro fight to stave off relegation.

However, he will now become a free agent on July 1 after neglecting to finish the season on Teesside.

Ayala had been strongly linked with a move to Leeds. United’s director of football Victor Orta knows the defender well from his own time at the Riverside.

Leeds have concerns over the long-term future of Ben White with the defender only on loan from Brighton. His magnificent form for Marcelo Bielsa’s side has seen him linked with a move to Liverpool and Man City.

So with Leeds having a big hole to fill in their defence, Ayala had been touted as a possible target.

 

 

But according to the Daily Mirror, Leeds have opted against a deal to bring in the 29-year-old.

While it is reported that Ayala was a player they considered, the club have now decided not to pursue him as an option.

 

Leeds keen on Robin Koch instead

Robin Koch

United are, however, believed to be keen on Freiburg’s Robin Koch. The German’s asking price is likely to be €10m, though any Leeds deal will depend on their promotion. Tottenham are also said to be keen as they seek new defensive recruits.

Ayala made his breakthrough at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez before signing for Norwich in 2011. He then joined for Middlesbrough in 2014 and has made 203 appearances for the Teessiders.

But he played his last match for the club on New Year’s Day when he came off with an injured ankle.

He’ll leave Teesside on something of a sour note, but Boro fans will be happy at least that Leeds won’t be bringing him in.

Boro, meanwhile, will be hoping Neil Warnock proves their saviour after he replaced Jonathan Woodgate at the helm.

 

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