By Dave Woods

12th Nov, 2019 | 10:30am

MOT View: 29y/o CB could be just what Leeds need as club reportedly ready to make Jan offer

Reports linking Middlesbrough centre-back Daniel Ayala with Leeds United are getting stronger. 

Teamtalk claimed over the weekend that Leeds were interested as Boro were looking to cash in on a player out of contract in the summer.

The Northern Echo has gone one step further on Tuesday and said, “Leeds United are ready to make a January offer” and are “expected to make a push to sign the 29-year-old”.

The move makes sense on one level but he won’t be the most popular signing at Elland Road.

Ayala has been with Boro since 2013 and Victor Orta knows him well from his time with the club.

He actually came up through the youth ranks at Liverpool but didn’t make the grade and moved on after just five senior appearances.

Ayala does have some Premier League experience but has played the vast majority of his career in the Championship with Middlesbrough.

He’s a popular player there and the Echo claims the club don’t want to lose him. However, he’s one of their highest-paid players – on £25k-a-week, according to Capology – and the report claims Boro can’t offer all their senior players fresh terms at the same level.

That could see them being forced to move Ayala on in January or risk losing him for free in the summer.

It means that Leeds could likely get him for a cut-price fee and fans have been clamouring for more depth in the centre of defence.

However, Ayala is not a popular figure at Leeds after run-ins with both Gaetano Berardi and Patrick Bamford. It’s hard to find anyone in favour of the move on Twitter at the moment, with tweets like these summing up the current mood among supporters.

However, Ayala is the sort of player you hate when he plays for someone else. These feelings could all change after a couple of bust-ups with the opposition while wearing white.

His wages could be offset against the fee but financial fair play considerations will mean Leeds are limited in what they can afford to pay for players in January.

Added to that, Leeds didn’t want another centre-back in the summer so what’s really changed since then?

According to Football Insider, Leeds will only look to sign someone in January if one of their loans are recalled. We don’t even want to think about the possibility of losing Ben White.

Putting aside the financials and the current view of Ayala in the stands, he could actually be a good buy. He knows the Championship inside out, is a strong character in the dressing room and on the pitch, and has that battling spirit Leeds will need in the second half of the season.

The latest injury to Liam Cooper shows that Leeds need another body back there. We think Ayala could be that man.

In other Leeds United news, Paul Robinson delivers verdict on Peacock-Farrell exit from Leeds this summer