Leeds United’s Luke Ayling to join Middlesbrough on loan

Luke Ayling - Leeds United's Luke Ayling to join Middlesbrough on loan
Luke Ayling is set to end a seven-year spell at Elland Road - Getty Images/Warren Little

Luke Ayling will undergo a medical at Middlesbrough on Wednesday ahead of a six-month loan from Leeds United after a seven-year spell at the club that included their return to the Premier League.

The 32-year-old right-back appeared to give an emotional farewell to fans at the weekend when he came on as a substitute in the FA Cup over Peterborough. He was targeted by Middlesbrough after being made available for a move to get regular football.

He will complete the formalities of the move to the Riverside and will be part of Michael Carrick’s squad for the rest of the season as they look to climb towards the play-off places in the Championship and also reach the Carabao Cup final, although Ayling will be cup-tied for that competition. Carrick’s side claimed a fine 1-0 win over Chelsea in the first leg of their semi-final on Tuesday evening.

After moving to Elland Road in 2016 he played a key role in their promotion to the top-flight for the 2020-21 season under Marcelo Bielsa and was a regular during the three seasons back in the Premier League before relegation last May.

This season has seen the emergence of Archie Gray, who has played at right-back. Ayling started the season in Daniel Farke’s team but his last start was on Oct 4 in the win over Queens Park Rangers.

“What he has done for this club and what he has done for this group is amazing,” Farke said when asked about the fans’ ovation for Ayling against Peterborough.

“I know at the moment quite often the goalscorers or assisters or the younger guys who are in the spotlight are more or less the main focus and they sing their names, but I’m a bit old-fashioned. I would sing ‘Luke, Luke, Luke’ for the whole 90 minutes.”

Ayling is out of contract at the end of the season at Leeds so would be a free agent at the end of his loan.

It is understood that the Leeds board were willing to give Ayling a new deal but Farke made it clear he was not in his plans.

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