This article is part of Football League World’s ‘What does the future hold?’ series, this content strand is where we evaluate and subjectively debate a player’s future at their current club…
Daniel Ayala has certainly been a big talking point for Middlesbrough fans this term.
The Spaniard has become part of the furniture at the Riverside Stadium after moving to the club in October 2013.
It didn’t take him long to become a first team regular and that’s been his role in the six and a half years since.
Ayala was a key part of Aitor Karanka’s promotion-winning side, and then subsequently part of the team that suffered relegation from the Premier League the following year.
Now a part of the side who are going through a period of rebuilding, it may be the case that the burly centre back is not around for what’s next.
Ayala is out of contract in the summer, and with no agreement in place his future at the club appears to be very much in doubt.
Should Daniel Ayala be offered a new contract with Middlesbrough?
Despite settling with his family in North Yorkshire, the 29-year-old appears to be weighing up his options as he looks ahead to what could the last big move of his successful playing career.
Let’s get this straight, the defender is a much-loved part of the Middlesbrough set-up and everyone in the club would love to keep him.
Unfortunately money talks in circumstances such as this.
Ayala was handed his latest deal as the Teessiders were about to embark on their first season back in the Premier League.
The club’s coffers were bursting at the seams and as we’ve witnessed so closely of late, it seems that they were desperate to spend that cash as quickly as they could.
Ayala was certainly deserving of a new deal, but given the club’s current stance of trying to cut their cloth accordingly, it means that the defender may have to take a hefty pay cut to stay at the club.
Can you name where these 15 Middlesbrough players started their career?
The Spaniard won’t be short of suitors in the coming months – after all, he’s proven himself to be one of the Championship’s most reliable defenders during his time on Teesside.
Also at the age of 29 he still has several years at the highest level remaining.
But that means that Ayala has a big choice ahead of him in the coming weeks – stick with the club where he feels comfortable and is regarded as one of the first names on the teamsheet, or twist for a new challenge and the potential to earn more money.
Some would jump to calling a player greedy were opting for a bigger pay packet, but just like everybody else finances are important and so will naturally be a deciding factor.
You’ve also got to remember that a footballer’s career is short, and so it’s key for them to try and earn as much money as possible in a short space of time.
It’s certainly going to be a interesting few weeks for the defender, and you can’t help but feel that during his time suffering with injury on the sidelines he may just have been weighing up those options of what could be next.