Revealed: Leeds frontrunners to sign £20K-a-wk star after 'insulting' offer
Daniel Ayala told Middlesbrough he would be willing to sign a new long-term deal if he was handed a pay rise amid Leeds United interest, Football Insider can reveal.
Ayala has seemingly burned his bridges with the north-east club after refusing to play in their nine remaining matches this season.
But a Boro source has told Football Insider that the 29-year-old was not completely opposed to staying at the club during contract discussions.
In fact, he told Riverside chiefs he was willing to stay if he was offered an upgrade on his current salary, worth at least £20,000-a-week.
The club tried hard to keep Ayala before negotiations broke down but offered him a three-year extension on reduced wages, seen as “insulting” by his camp.
That was knocked back and was a major factor in the discord that has seen the former Liverpool and Norwich City man effectively sever all ties.
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Football Insider revealed last week that Boro offered long-term contracts of between two and three years to Ayala as well as senior teammates Jonny Howson and George Friend.
They are among seven senior players whose current deals expire on 30 June.
Five of that seven – Friend, Howson, Adam Clayton, Marvin Johnson and Rudy Gestede -have all agreed to extend their deals for the remainder of this season.
That is a major boost for manager Jonathan Woodgate as he plots his side’s relegation battle with them precariously placed just two points above the drop zone.
There is strong interest in Ayala from Leeds, who have made him one of their top targets in the next window as they look to sign a new centre-back.
The 29-year-old has made 23 Championship starts among 25 appearances for Middlesbrough this season but has not played since New Year’s Day due to an ankle injury.
In other Leeds United news, Danny Mills has claimed his former club are “in the box seat” to sign Ben White permanently after update.