By Alex Stevens
Leeds beat two rival clubs to the summer signing of Luke Ayling from Bristol City.
The west country club’s chief operating officer Mark Ashton has revealed how City prised Adam Matthews from Sunderland while simultaneously working on a deal to sell Ayling.
Right-back Matthews has joined the Championship outfit on a season-long loan, which paved the way for Ayling to move to Elland Road.
The decision to make fellow right-back Ayling available for transfer was taken before Matthews even arrived in Bristol and Ashton worked on the two deals at the same time.
In the end, Leeds beat off competition from two rival clubs to land Ayling’s signature, with the former Arsenal and Yeovil man moving to Elland Road in a deal worth around £750,000 in early August.
“Once we knew there was a good chance of Matthews coming, we had to think about what we did with Luke Ayling,” Ashton told the Bristol Post. “It was obvious that he was not going to get so much game time. If that was the case, then it was probably better that we let him go.
“At the same time as I’m trying to do a deal for Matthews, I’m positioning Luke Ayling to go out. I had three clubs that were interested in Luke Ayling’s services. I then set a value on Luke Ayling and left the three clubs to fight it out
“Those two deals were going on simultaneously, which is why I refer to the transfer window as a spider’s web. At any given time, I might be dealing with three or four clubs for the player I want to get in and another three for the one I want to get out.
“Everything you do has to be really clinical, because I cannot afford to misinterpret information. That’s why we think in ink and write everything down. We have standard templates we use and it is a bit like a game of chess in which we all know what we are doing.”
Following his transfer, Ayling has started Leeds’ last five league matches after stepping in for Gaetano Berardi, who suffered a thigh injury in the opening-day defeat at QPR.
In other Leeds transfer news, Garry Monk has explained where the club failed in the summer transfer market.