Pundit Paul Robinson believes Leeds United right-back Luke Ayling will sign a new Elland Road contract.
The Lowdown: Ayling and Kristensen
Ayling underwent knee surgery towards the end of May and is expected to be out for two to four months. It looks as if the 30-year-old is in a race against time to return for the start of Jesse Marsch’s first full season in charge, with Leeds acting in the transfer window as a result.
The Whites have signed Rasmus Kristensen from RB Salzburg, and Robinson has now made a claim on Ayling, who is entering the final 12 months of his Elland Road deal.
The Latest: Robinson’s claim
He believes the full-back will ‘extend his contract’ and labelled him as a ‘quality’ member of the Leeds squad.
“No, he’s signing. He’s signing for an extra year to extend his contract.
“In the last two or three seasons, he’s been one of Leeds’ regular top-performers.
“You’re going to have to do well to replace anyone like that and you give them another two or three-year deal.
“You give him a chance to recover from his injury because you’re going to need him with the type of budget Leeds have in the Premier League.
“They’re not going to get better than what they’ve got in Luke Ayling.
“He’s got quality, he can play anywhere across the back-four and for me, he and Stuart Dallas are the most reliable, dependable players Leeds have got.
“He’s a leader on the field and a voice. He was a man among boys at times this season when they struggled and he’s so versatile. He’s almost irreplaceable and you give him a new contract regardless of what length it is.”
The Verdict: Interesting
With Kristensen coming in and youngster Cody Drameh impressing on loan at Cardiff City last season, it will be interesting to see what Leeds have in store for Ayling over the next 12 months.
Given Ayling’s injury, you’d expect that Kristensen will take over as first-choice on the right after the club spent £11.7m on his services, while Drameh appears to be a star in the making, winning multiple awards in Wales.
There’s no denying that Ayling has been an incredible servant in Yorkshire, making 220 appearances, however, there will eventually come a time when he moves on from Elland Road, and that could well be next summer even if Robinson doesn’t think so.
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