49ers Enterprises in danger of costly decision at Leeds United as Luke Ayling development emerges
Leeds United are prepared to offer a new contract to Luke Ayling with his latest deal set to expire at the end of the season but it could end up being a costly decision.
Online news outlet TEAMtalk shared via their Twitter account on 16 October that the West Yorkshire outfit are ready to offer a new deal to the player who has over 260 appearances for the club.
This news comes despite Ayling having been benched in favour of playing both Jamie Shackleton and Archie Gray outside of their natural positions at right-back.
Nobody can dispute the full-back’s commitment to the Whites’ cause over the past year or so, which is more than can be said for some currently, but the 31-year-old has certainly come under fire recently after some haphazard performances which has cost the club on numerous occasions.
Ayling was handed the number one right-back spot when Farke walked through the door at Elland Road, but it recent weeks, he’s had to settle for a place on the bench with the likes of Shackleton and Gray preferred in the role.
More crucially, the Whites signed Djed Spence on loan from Tottenham, with a view to probably making the move permanent should he impress at Elland Road and Leeds United secure promotion.
However, the former Nottingham Forest defender’s recent long-term injury has certainly hampered his progress at Elland Road which has allowed Ayling to feature at times but the Spence acquisition wasn’t for no reason.
Farke also brought in Sam Byram after their time together at Norwich City and while the former Canary has impressed at left-back, it remains to be seen whether the German boss sees him in that role long-term.
There’s also the matter of Cody Drameh to navigate, with the Elland Road academy graduate thriving on loan at Birmingham City already. What decision will the club make on him next summer?
Farke certainly has to have the Leeds United future in mind, one which may not include Ayling who has been guilty of some costly mistakes in the past.
Tying him down for another year is all well and good but should the club secure their place in the Premier League next season, Ayling certainly won’t be an automatic starter in a division where he’s struggled before and more tellingly, won’t be at the required quality on the pitch to ensure Leeds United aren’t in danger of relegation again.
Certainly, the 32-year-old is a crucial and influential presence in the dressing room but that cannot be argued on the pitch any longer for which Leeds United owners 49ers Enterprises could be guilty of flushing a significant windfall down the drain, handing a new contract to a player who may not feature much a new deal.
Ayling, as reported by The Athletic on 16 October, is one of three experienced Leeds players whose deals are set to expire next summer, alongside Liam Cooper and Stuart Dallas.
It’s time the Whites look to the future after this campaign and it won’t be a surprise to see the club start next season without at least two of those names.
In other Leeds United news, Daniel Farke is “totally convinced” that one “unbelievable” Whites player can improve as the season goes on.