Daniel Ayala appears unlikely to stay with Middlesbrough beyond the end of the season, according to The Northern Echo.
The Spanish defender is one of seven players who is out of contract this summer, and with the Teessiders looking to trim their wage bill, it seems that most of those players could move on.
Ayala has been with the club since 2014, but given his current deal was offered to him during the club’s time in the Premier League, it means that he will likely have to take a significant pay cut to stay with the club.
The Northern Echo claim that Ayala is still being closely monitored by Leeds United who could be tempted by the addition of such an experienced defender on a free transfer.
Middlesbrough will be keen to keep hold of their star man, but while a comeback from injury is likely to come after the fixture suspension, Paul Fraser believes that it appears likely that the Spaniard will move on.
Fraser said: “The Spanish defender is arguably the club’s best defender, but he has not played since hobbling out of the win at Preston on New Year’s Day.
“Woodgate has not put a timeframe on Ayala’s return to action, but presumably the coronavirus break should ensure he will be fit again by the time the action resumes.
“There are two big issues with the 29-year-old: his fitness and the short time he has remaining on his contract.
“Ayala has had plenty of interest in him in recent years because of his excellent performances, which had Tony Pulis label him as a Premier League defender plying his trade in the Championship.
“Promotion contenders Leeds are known to have expressed an interest in him, for Ayala to stay, the likelihood is he will have to take a pay cut.
“Given the injury problems he has had, Middlesbrough and Ayala will hope that the uncertainty surrounding his future will not have an impact on his performances in the run-in because he is needed.
“Whether Ayala stays beyond this season, though, seems more unlikely.”
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It certainly appears that the writing is on the wall regarding Daniel Ayala’s future.
The central defender is out of contract in just three months and with no deal even close to being agreed it seems that a breakthrough is now unlikely.
Middlesbrough are keen to trim their wage bill and as one of the higher earners in the ranks, the Spaniard would have to take a big pay cut to stay at the club.
Whether a move to Leeds will materialise is up for debate, but it seems likely that he’ll be heading for pastures new in the summer.