By Noel Whelan

31st Mar, 2020 | 2:28pm

Exclusive: Whelan instant reaction as Leeds set reported sights on Spaniard

Noel Whelan has claimed Daniel Ayala is “not good enough” for Leeds United after the defender was linked with a summer move.

The ex-Whites and Coventry forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, insisted the 29-year-old is no better than what Marcelo Bielsa already has in his squad.

According to the Daily Star, United have set their sights on a move for the Spanish centre-half this summer, irrespective of whether they achieve promotion.

Ayala has made 25 appearances for Middlesborough this campaign as they fight to stay in the Championship.

Whelan suggested the former Liverpool defender does not have the ability, nor the pace to cope with the Premier League.

“He is no Ben White,” he told Football Insider.

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“I would not want him at the club. From what I have seen of him this season at Boro he is not good enough.

“He does not have the pace that is going to be required in the Premier League – Ben White has. Liam Cooper got himself an international call-up this season and he looks stronger and better. Would I put Ayala ahead of those two? Absolutely not.

“There is better out there that we can get hold of. We might need to spend more money but in the long-term would be a better buy and asset to Leeds.”

As revealed by Football Insider, Liam Cooper is set to keep his place even if the Whites are promoted to the Premier League. 

However, with Ben White only on a season-long loan from Brighton and with Gaetano Berardi out of contract in June – Bielsa will likely be on the hunt for a new centre-back this summer.

In other Leeds United news, Kevin Phillips has told Football Insider he has been wowed by what Marcelo Bielsa has inspired behind-the-scenes at Elland Road.