Since Marcelo Bielsa took charge at Leeds United, the Argentine has taken the club back to the Premier League after a 16-year absence and got them to a top-half finish in their first season back in the top flight.
One figure that has played a massive part in Leeds’ rise from the Championship to the Premier League is Luke Ayling, who has made a total of 200 appearances for the Yorkshire club across all competitions in which he has managed to score seven goals and provide 17 assists along the way.
Last season saw Ayling start all 38 of Leeds’ Premier League games as well as Stuart Dallas, showing how vital he is for Bielsa’s side.
Having now hit the age of 30 and with his current contract at Elland Road set to expire in the summer of 2023, there’s every chance that the club will be looking at who could be their potential long-term replacement for the long-serving Englishman.
With that in mind, it seems as though Bielsa could already have the perfect long-term heir for Ayling that could save Victor Orta millions in potential future transfer fees.
Since joining Leeds’ U23 side from Fulham’s U23 squad back in August last year, 20-year-old right-back Cody Drameh has made 33 appearances for Leeds’ youth side, scoring one goal and providing four assists along the way.
Drameh has also made two appearances for Leeds’ senior side, showing that Bielsa has enough confidence in him already to perform to a high standard in the first team alongside the senior players at Leeds.
This season has seen Drameh be involved in Leeds’ senior matchday squad on eight occasions in the league with one 19-minute cameo appearance in their 2-1 win away at Norwich City.
Given how Ayling managed to rack up an average of 2.8 tackles per game in the league last season as well as winning 61% of the duels he was involved in, these are the sort of defensive numbers that Drameh will have to match if he wants to be recognised as Ayling’s long-term heir at Leeds.
However, with the praise he’s garnered since joining the Yorkshire club, it seems as though that Drameh is more than capable of doing that in the next few years given his apparent love for defending.