Leeds United are ‘confident’ that they will be able to strike a deal with the representatives of right-back Luke Ayling regarding an extension of the 30-year-old’s contract, which is set to expire in 2023.
According to a source speaking to Football Insider, the Yorkshire club are ‘confident’ of extending the Englishman’s deal at Elland Road by at least one year with his current deal due to expire next summer.
After what’s been a tricky campaign for the Yorkshire outfit, the right-back produced his best moment of the season on Friday night by scoring the decisive goal to complete a vital 3-2 comeback victory against Wolves at Molineux.
Jesse Marsch’s side are now seven points clear of the relegation zone, but the likes of Everton, Burnley (three), Watford and Brentford (one) all have games in hand.
Whilst being a Leeds player, Ayling has certainly seen highs and lows with managerial changes, near misses with promotion before finally securing a long-awaited return to the top-flight in 2020.
The right-back has impressively improved his standard to ensure of a place in the Premier League for Leeds and certainly deserves a new deal.
However, despite the Englishman’s popularity at Elland Road, his age does have to come into question regarding a contract extension, with the 30-year-old set to be two months shy of his 32nd birthday when his current deal expires.
The Yorkshire club will certainly be keen to progress, particularly under Marsch with the American manager signing a three-and-a-half-year contract at Elland Road when replacing Marcelo Bielsa earlier this month.
Therefore, regularly relying on a right-back who is likely to decline won’t be a long-term solution. It is, though, deserved and something that will go down well with supporters given his popularity.
When available, Ayling has played this term, making 21 appearances thus far in the top-flight this season either side of a knee injury that ruled the Englishman out for two months between September and November.
In the league, the right-back has averaged 77 touches per game this season as well as a 79% passing accuracy. Moreover, his contribution defensively is particularly impressive, producing 2.6 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 1.8 clearances per game.
However, as is expected with the sometimes kamikaze defending of Leeds, the 30-year-old hasn’t yet kept a clean sheet this term.
The right-back position is certainly Ayling’s with Stuart Dallas the only other player recognised as a fully capable fit on that side of the defence, with the Northern Ireland international regularly playing at either left-back or in midfield.
Although Leeds may look elsewhere for a new first-choice right-back in the coming seasons, having a figure as popular as Ayling in the squad will certainly be shrewd and, for his services to the club, the Englishman certainly deserves a contract extension.