By David Woods

31st Dec, 2019 | 10:00am

'I have to tell you' – £25k/wk Leeds-linked player talks about potential January move

Leeds-linked player Daniel Ayala has said that “unless something big happens” he will “definitely” be at Middlesbrough until the end of the season. 

The Northern Echo had reported that Leeds United were set to make a bid for the 29-year-old centre-back in January.

Ayala has been at Middlesbrough since 2013 but is out of contract in the summer and that’s led to speculation about his future.

However, talking to the Hartlepool Mail, Ayala put distance between him and a move to Leeds this January.

Talking about reports that had linked him to Leeds and Stoke, Ayala said, “Of course I see all the speculation, my friends send me all the stories and that is normal.

“But really I have to tell you that I only concentrate on Middlesbrough and I’m not thinking about leaving in January or anything like that.

“Unless something really big happens – and I don’t think it will – I will definitely be at Middlesbrough until the end of the season… I love this club. I don’t really think about going elsewhere. I just want to stay here.”

Ayala is on £25,000-a-week at Middlesbrough, according to Capology.

Leeds could well be gearing up for a busy January window after Jack Clarke was recalled by Tottenham, and amid growing speculation that Eddie Nketiah will be going back to Arsenal.

Both of these players suffered from a lack of game time in the first half of the season.

Athletic journalist Phil Hay has said that Leeds could make up to three new signings this January, although a new centre-back isn’t on the list.

Hay claims Leeds will move to replace Clarke and Nketiah, and look to sign an experienced stand-in keeper if Kiko Casilla looks like picking up a ban for racist abuse.

Casilla is set to find out his fate in an FA hearing in the new year.

Leeds still have the best defence in the Championship but after conceding just 10 goals in 21 games, they’ve now let in 10 in the last four.

Ben White has been an ever-present for Leeds at the back, while Liam Cooper has missed seven games through injury.

In other Leeds United news: ‘Who Leeds need to go up’ – Exclusive: Paul Robinson claims Orta must sign one player this Jan