Fulham, Leeds United and Stoke City are all interested in a move for Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala when the transfer window reopens in January, a report from TEAMtalk has claimed.
Ayala is out of contract at The Riverside Stadium at the end of this season, and it is thought that ‘Boro are not currently in a position to offer him a deal to match the one he is currently on at the club.
As a result, Middlesbrough will instead look to cash in on the 29-year-old when the window reopens in January, rather than lose him for nothing in the summer.
Should Daniel Ayala be offered a new contract with Middlesbrough?
That is something that has apparently caught the attention of a number of their Championship rivals, with Fulham, Leeds and Stoke all said to be monitoring the defender’s situation.
It is understood that Fulham are the most likely to complete a deal for the Spaniard, but that Leeds’ director of football Victor Orta is also a fan.
Since joining Middlesbrough from Norwich City in 2013, Ayala has featured 206 times in all competitions for the club – which includes appearances in 15 of ‘Boro’s 16 league games this season – scoring 22 goals.
Ayala helped Middlesbrough win promotion to the Premier League in the 2015/16 campaign, although the club were relegated back to the Championship the following year, after just a single season in the top flight.
This would be a very smart signing for one of these three sides.
Ayala has been around at this level for quite some time now, so he would surely be a reliable option for any of these sides should they win the race for his signature.
Indeed, having won promotion before with ‘Boro, that experience could be crucial for either Leeds or Fulham in the second half of the season, with both clubs expected to challenge for a place in the Premier League this season at the very least.
The fact that Middlesbrough find themselves in this situation where they look set to be forced to offload Ayala does not look good for them however, and even if this is a necessary decision, it is unlikely to be a popular one.