By Craig Scott

26th Aug, 2022 | 12:10pm

Luke Ayling days at Leeds United could be numbered after what happened v Barnsley - Phil Hay

By Jonty Banks

Luke Ayling could be in his final year at Leeds United as the club are yet to offer him a new contract and following the emergence of stiff competition within the squad, according to The Athletic’s Phil Hay.

Ayling has been a stalwart for the club since his move to Elland Road in 2016, but as Jesse Marsch tries to place his footprint on Leeds, an overhaul of the squad could be inbound.

Marsch has been openly delighted with the progress of young full-back Cody Drameh – who made his first senior appearance of the season against Barnsley on Wednesday night – and his performances have subsequently raised debate about Ayling’s contract, which expires at the end of the 2022/23 season.  

Speaking on the latest episode of The Phil Hay Show podcast on Friday (26 August, 34m47s), Hay said:“You have to remember with Ayling that he’s in the last year of his contract now and there’s been no move yet to extend that.

“You have to wonder if this is the tail-end for Ayling and if it is coming to a conclusion for him and if he will be elsewhere by the start of next season.

“If he is then clearly, the three fighting for a place at right-back becomes two – Kristensen and Drameh.”

Time for Ayling to step back

Although Ayling has been a loyal servant to the club, the defender should make way to pave a route for the likes of Drameh, Firpo and Kristensen.

Drameh spent the second half of last season on loan with Championship outfit Cardiff City, picking up the club’s player of the year in a promising stint under Steve Morison, so is clearly a bright prospect.

The Englishman has also been capped for England U21’s, showing Leeds hold a player with an abundance of talent, but if Ayling were to remain at the club, Drameh may move elsewhere for game time.

At 31 years of age, Ayling isn’t getting any younger, and the high-intensity style of play which Marsch demands won’t get any easier if he were to sign a new contract beyond this season.

Ayling became a synonymous figure under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds, and it feels like a changing of the guard is due at full-back following the passing of the reins in the managerial department.

In other Leeds United news, Marsch has said this Leeds player is the “best” he’s ever seen.