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Leeds United legend 'wanted by Sheffield United on free transfer'

Leeds United legend 'wanted by Sheffield United on free transfer'
© Reuters
Sheffield United are reportedly eyeing up a move for Leeds United veteran Luke Ayling, who is set to leave Elland Road on a free transfer this summer.

Sheffield United are reportedly interested in signing Leeds United's Luke Ayling during the summer transfer window.

Despite arguably having legendary status at Elland Road, the 32-year-old struggled for game time at the Whites during the first half of the campaign.

Looking for regular first-team minutes, Ayling secured a temporary switch in January to fellow Championship side Middlesbrough for the remainder of the term.

The right-back has featured 17 times in the second tier for Michael Carrick's troops, who are set to fall short of their goal of reaching the top six in back-to-back campaigns.

Since moving on a permanent deal from Bristol City to Elland Road in August 2016, the defender has made 268 appearances across all competitions, scoring 11 times.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder on April 4, 2024© Reuters

Sheffield United keen on Leeds man Ayling

According to journalist Alan Nixon, Sheffield United are keen on securing the services of Leeds' Ayling during the upcoming summer transfer window.

The defender's current terms at Elland Road expire at the conclusion of the 2023-24 campaign, and there are no signs that a new contract is on the table.

Therefore, Ayling will be free to leave Daniel Farke's side at the end of the term on a free transfer, with a number of potential suitors monitoring developments.

One of those is said to be Premier League strugglers Sheffield United, who are seemingly preparing for an immediate return to the Championship.

Despite the return of club legend Chris Wilder into the managerial hotseat, the Blades remain bottom of the top-flight standings, 10 points behind 17th-placed Nottingham Forest.

Leeds United's Archie Gray celebrates after the match on December 23, 2023© Reuters

Leeds' new era at right-back

With three promotions on his footballing CV, Ayling looked to be the perfect man to start at right-back for Leeds this season and help their charge towards the Premier League.

However, the 32-year-old lost his place in the Whites' starting XI to England youth international Archie Gray at the beginning of the campaign.

Naturally a midfielder, 18-year-old Gray has impressed massively on the right side of Leeds' backline this term, managing 42 Championship appearances.

Before returning to parent club Tottenham Hotspur in January, Djed Spence was also ahead of Ayling in the right-back pecking order for Farke.

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Djed Spence in action for Tottenham Hotspur in January 2023
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CLeicester CityLeicester463141189414897
3Leeds UnitedLeeds462791081433890
4Southampton462691187632487
5West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom4621121370472375
6Norwich CityNorwich4621101579641573
7Hull City461913146860870
8Middlesbrough46209177162969
9Coventry CityCoventry4617131670591164
10Preston North EndPreston46189195667-1163
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12Cardiff CityCardiff46195225370-1762
13Millwall461611194555-1059
14Swansea CitySwansea461512195965-657
15Watford461317166161056
16Sunderland46168225254-256
17Stoke CityStoke461511204960-1156
18Queens Park RangersQPR461511204758-1156
19Blackburn RoversBlackburn461411216074-1453
20Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds46158234468-2453
21Plymouth ArgylePlymouth461312215970-1151
RBirmingham CityBirmingham461311225065-1550
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield46918194877-2945
RRotherham UnitedRotherham46512293789-5227


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