Exclusive: Leeds set sights on signing Spaniard, Orta has already held talks
Leeds United have made soon-available Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala one of their top summer targets, Football Insider can reveal.
The Spaniard, 29, is out of contract at the end of this month but is set to complete the season at the Riverside Stadium.
A Leeds source has told Football Insider that recruitment chief Victor Orta is a big admirer of Ayala and he has recommended him highly to Marcelo Bielsa.
He has already spoken to the player about the possibility of a move to Elland Road.
The defender is one of Orta’s top targets across the board as he puts together a shortlist for all the positions that United need to strengthen.
Leeds are in the market for at least one senior centre-back in the next window, and possibly two.
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Ben White, who has started every match of their Championship campaign, is on a season-long loan from Brighton and they have made it clear they want him back for next term.
Gaetano Berardi, who provides cover for first-choice duo White and Liam Cooper, is out of contract this summer.
Orta has set his sights on Ayala, who he knows well from when he was the director of football at Boro.
His fellow Spaniard has spent the last seven years at the Riverside and been a fixture of the team for much of that time.
Ayala, who has made 25 appearances for Middlesbrough this campaign but has not played since New Year’s Day due to an ankle injury.
He is back in training but Jonathan Woodgate has stated it would be unrealistic to expect him to play all nine remaining league matches due to the congested programme.
In other Leeds United news, a Whites 29-year-old is set to be at a club down south next season after buying a new house.