On the 11th of August 2016, Leeds signed Bristol City defender Luke Ayling for £783,000.
The former Arsenal academy right-back had established himself as a solid player for the Robbins and was an integral part of the team that got promoted from League One in 2015. He then played 33 games in the Championship and became one of the better defenders in the league.
Combined with Pontus Jansson, Kyle Bartley and Gaetano Berardi, Ayling formed a back four that only conceded 47 goals in the Championship in his first with the Yorkshire club. Despite his strong performances at the back, Leeds just missed out on the Championship playoffs.
Despite his solid performances when the club signed the fullback, some of the Leeds fans weren’t exactly pleased by the signing and this is what they had to say…
— Agate (@Mr_Agate) August 11, 2016
— Phil Mooney (@Whiteyorkist) August 11, 2016
— SAMUEL (@Murray__87) August 11, 2016
man buns not allowed mate
— Paul LUFC (@pistol1603) August 11, 2016
After a very impressive start to his career at Leeds, Ayling remained a constant in the team and having just played over a year at the club, Ayling was rewarded with a new deal. At times captaining the side, the defender was a bright spark in a team that severely underperformed and had two managerial changes.
Unfortunately for the consistent defender, he suffered an ankle injury and could only make 27 appearances in the Championship. Following the club’s two relatively poor seasons, Ayling has once again become a regular for a side that looks like it could be one of the favourites for promotion this year.
Under new boss Marcelo Bielsa, the 27-year-old has been a constant force in a side that for most of the early part of the season has suffocated its opponents. He’s so far made nine appearances for the club, as Leeds have surged to the top of the table. Although they were handed their first loss at the weekend against Birmingham City, the Whites still remain at the top of the table, level on points with Middlesbrough.
A solid defender who’s also capable of bursting forward, Ayling has established himself as one of the best players at the club and arguably one of the best players in the Championship. Under Bielsa, Ayling’s attacking talents seem to have improved and at long last, he scored his first goal for the club this season.
At the time of his arrival some of the Leeds fans may not have been too keen on the defender but it’s safe to say that he’s now established himself as an absolute steal of a signing and one player that could push the club back into the Premier League at long last.