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“Pointless” – Leeds United must delay major player departure to summer: Our View

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Leeds United right-back Luke Ayling has found himself suffering from a lack of game time at the moment under Jesse Marsch.

The Whites have made a host of changes to their strongest starting lineup since Marsch took over in February, with new signings coming in and shaking things up.

At right-back, the once undroppable Luke Ayling has since lost his place to £10million Denmark international Rasmus Kristensen.

An injury didn’t help Ayling’s start to the season, but a return to fitness has only brought one start in the league along with six cameos from the bench.

Journalist Graeme Bailey had this to say on Ayling’s possible exit with TEAMtalk:

“Luke Ayling like 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.”

Should Leeds be considering an exit for their promotion hero? Our LeedsAllOver writer Kris (FA5) and Adam (Statto) share their thoughts…

I don’t think there is any logical reason why we would (or should) consider an offer for Ayling right now.

He might be out of contract in the summer of 2023, but he clearly has so much to offer to this side, whether it’s on the pitch or off it.

The performance at Spurs might cast a lot of doubts for some of the previously reliable players like himself and Liam Cooper, but their leadership is something we can’t just throw in the bin.

We absolutely can’t churn the core of our established group in one window, and that includes any offers for Ayling.

Re-assess when the summer rolls around.

Do you think Ayling will be at Leeds next season?

Yes

Yes

No

No

The short answer is no.

If Leeds wish to improve their defensive options in January, so be it, but it should not be at the expense of anyone else leaving the club.

Ayling’s importance is paramount in keeping a dressing room focussed and united. He is one of the most vocal players at the club. The vice captain’s value on the side as a player has perhaps diminished, but his importance as a character, person, and captain cannot be understated.

Not only that, but he is also able to play different positions within the side. Whether that is as cover for Kristensen at right-back or as a right-centre-back in a crisis. If anything, his ability to play in the heart of the defence is most vital, given Leeds’ issues there.

As someone in his 30’s, it may even be the best thing for him in the long-term as a player, in order to prolong his career.

At 31, and with less than a year on his deal, he is also unlikely to hold any resale value or any decent profitability at all. A definite keep for the Whites.

Selling would be pointless, but extending his deal further is also not in Leeds’ best interests either. A defensive revamp in the summer is important.

The big updated Luke Ayling quiz – Can Leeds United fans score 20/20?

1 of 20

Did Ayling make any senior appearances for Arsenal?

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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.