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Leeds: Luke Ayling attracting January interest

Leeds United right-back Luke Ayling is attracting interest ahead of the January transfer window.

What’s the talk?

That’s according to Graeme Bailey, with the transfer insider revealing in a recent interview with TEAMtalk that Jesse Marsch is planning something of an overhaul of his first team squad this winter, with a number of players in line for a departure.

One of these players is said to be Ayling, the 31-year-old right-back who is out of contract at the end of the current campaign, with the journalist going on to suggest that there is interest in a January move for the defender.

Regarding the future of the full-back, Bailey said: “Leeds can expect changes next summer for sure and it will mean another overhaul of their squad. It is clear that Jesse Marsch still doesn’t have all the tools at his disposal.”

“Luke Ayling, like [Adam] Forshaw, is out of contract next summer, and I am told there is interest in him. However, it is a doubt that Leeds’ squad is deep enough for them to let him go.”

Bin Ayling, unleash Drameh

While Bailey suggests that Leeds believe they may not have enough depth at right-back in order to sanction the sale of Ayling in January, considering the fact that Cody Drameh is still currently playing the majority of his football with the U21s, it would appear a wise move for Marsch to finally unleash the 20-year-old in place of the 31-year-old upon the turn of the year.

Indeed, considering just how impressive the £2.2m-rated talent was during a loan spell at Cardiff City last season, in addition to turning in a number of eye-catching displays for Michael Skubala’s youth side in the current campaign, the England U21 international would look to be a natural successor to the former Arsenal right-back.

Indeed, over his 22 Championship appearances for the Bluebirds in 2021/22, Drameh helped his side keep six clean sheets, in addition to making an average of 3.8 tackles – the most of any player in the league – one interception, 2.0 clearances and winning 6.9 duels – at a success rate of 57% – per game.

The £4.4k-per-week youngster also chipped in going forwards, registering three assists and creating four big chances for his teammates, as well as making an average of 0.6 key passes, playing 1.4 long balls and completing 1.1 dribbles per fixture.

These metrics saw the 20-year-old average an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.92, ranking him as Cardiff’s fourth-best player in the second tier.

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The former Fulham starlet has also impressed over his eight appearances for the U21s this season, bagging one goal and providing three assists, as well as averaging an eye-catching SofaScore match rating of 7.03 over his three outings in the Papa John’s Trophy.

As such, considering the potential Drameh clearly possesses, the player whose development is being “held up by Ayling’s ongoing involvement” – in the words of James Marshment – would indeed appear a natural heir to the £35k-per-week right-back – leading us to believe that Marsch can afford to bin the 31-year-old passenger by unleashing the 20-year-old “threat” in the first-team.

Article title: Leeds: Luke Ayling attracting January interest

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