Luke Ayling: How my Leeds United transfer came around

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Luke Ayling has revealed the interesting manner in which his transfer from Bristol City to Leeds United came about, citing Kyle Bartley as an influence in proceedings.

Having started out at Arsenal’s academy, Ayling has had an unconventional career trajectory to lead him to the Premier League.

Cast out by the Gunners as a teenager, Ayling ended up at Yeovil during their rise to the Championship and subsequently ended up at Ashton Gate with Bristol City.

While his time at Bristol was laden with EFL success in both League One and the EFL trophy, he struggled towards the back end of his spell there.

In the summer of 2016, the right-back became one of Garry Monk’s initial signings as manager alongside former Arsenal youth teammate and close friend, Kyle Bartley.

Since then, Bartley has gone on to feature heavily for Swansea before helping West Brom to promotion from the Championship last season.

Ayling has since done similar, nailing down a spot at Elland Road and captained the side in massive games such as the club’s centenary game against Birmingham City, and Leeds’ first game back in the top flight against Liverpool.

At the age of 24, Ayling put pen-to-paper at Leeds, signing from Bristol for a mere reported fee of £200,000, and he has revealed the way the transfer came about.

Speaking to LUTV about his career to date, Ayling commented on his 2016 move to Elland Road: “To be honest, it came out of nowhere.

“It first got mentioned when Garry Monk got the job in that summer and Kyle Bartley was at Swansea, Bartley was coming on loan.

“I was in Thailand with him at the time, things weren’t going well for me at Bristol, I knew I wasn’t in their plans, I knew I’d have to find a new club to play every week.

“So I jokingly said to Kyle ‘text Garry to see if he needs a right-back’ and nothing came of it, he ignored it.

“Then their first game, the right-back here – Berra [Gaetano Berardi] – who’s still here got injured, and I actually played the first game at Bristol City. I thought maybe I’ve got a chance to stay here and play.

“I thought ‘I’m going to stay here’ then there was a Carling Cup game on the Tuesday and I got left out of the squad and I was thinking this isn’t right.

“Then on the Wednesday, I was up here signing and it’d all come around pretty quickly.”

Ayling has had an incredible time at Leeds so far and I hope he can continue his work as our right-back for the years to come.

His performances in the Championship last season were part of the reason why we won so many games in the manner we did, from edging narrow margins to complete thrashings.

He’s shown brilliant leadership in that time and from the moment he came into the lineup alongside his friend, Bartley, you could see how important he would be.

It makes it easier to settle into a side when you’ve got a close friend by your side, but Ayling’s character was always going to stand him in good stead.

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Leeds United season ticket holder since 2013/14, currently situated in the middle of the FA5 noise. From Pablo Hernandez to 5-1 drubbings, I've seen it all at Elland Road.