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Leeds: Luke Ayling’s market value has soared under Bielsa

Leeds United were forced to hand a Premier League debut to 19-year-old Cody Drameh on Sunday against Norwich as Jamie Shackleton was forced off with an injury.

First-choice right-back Luke Ayling has been out of action since 17 September and Marcelo Bielsa has refused to reveal when the 30-year-old will be fit to play again. Ahead of the trip to Carrow Road, the manager said: “There is no precise return date for the injuries of Ayling, Bamford and Koch.”

His absence has been a blow for the Whites as he has established himself as a key player for the club, with Bielsa playing a blinder with the full-back in recent seasons.

Is Ayling Premier League quality?





Ayling joined Leeds from Bristol City in 2016 and by the time Bielsa came in 2018, he was valued by Transfermarkt at £1.35m. He then started 75 of the club’s Championship matches in the Argentine’s first two campaigns, averaging WhoScored ratings of 7.02 and 7.26 respectively.

In the 2019/20 title-winning season, he produced four goals and four assists from right-back as he averaged 3.4 tackles and interceptions per game. This led to him being named the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year in the Championship.

Bielsa was able to turn up at Elland Road and immediately get a tune out of Ayling, coaching him into becoming a player the fans deemed to be the best in the division throughout the 2019/20 campaign. However, the step up to the Premier League is a big one – was he able to cope with that?

Of course he was. Ayling, who was described as a “great technician” by former Arsenal academy team-mate Cedric Evina, started all 38 of Leeds’ games in the top flight last term as they finished ninth in the table and comfortably avoided relegation.

He averaged an impressive WhoScored rating of 6.94 as he made 3.7 tackles and interceptions per game. This shows that he turned in consistently strong displays at the top level whilst winning the ball back on a regular basis from right-back.

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At the end of last season, Transfermarkt valued him at £4.5m, which remains his current value (01/11/21). This is a 233% increase from his valuation at the time of Bielsa’s arrival and shows how the Argentine has been able to get the best out of him. The manager has enabled Ayling to thrive and his performances on the pitch, coupled with his soaring value, show that he has pulled off a masterclass with the right-back.

AND in other news, Orta masterclass: Leeds landed dream deal for gem who “could have been anything”…

Article title: Leeds: Luke Ayling’s market value has soared under Bielsa

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