First Leeds United summer exit close as defender confirms ‘excitement’ after contract talks

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Leeds United defender Luke Ayling says he is close to signing a contract with Middlesbrough after joining the club on loan in January. 

The well-liked Leeds full-back comes to the end of his Elland Road contract this summer and played his final game for the Whites back in January as Peterborough United were defeated in the FA Cup Third Round. Ayling was granted the chance to go on loan during the winter transfer window in order to help the experienced defender earn a new contract elsewhere, subsequently joining fellow Championship outfit Middlesbrough.

"You definitely want to keep a player like Luke Ayling,” manager Daniel Farke said at the start of the year. “You want to have him as a human being in the group.

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"He came to see us after the cup game. We talked with him. It was not the moment to think about it selfishly. We wanted to have him as a leader and as a full-back option. We listened to him.

"He has done so much for the club. We have done a lot for him. He has given so much back.”

Ayling told BBC Tees following Boro’s final game of the season away to Watford he had loved every minute of his loan spell at the Riverside Stadium and was excited by what the future may hold.

“I think things are close and I'm excited for what the future holds. I can't say it's done yet so can't say too much but the last four months I've loved being part of it. I've loved every minute of it,” Ayling said.

The defender is close to agreeing terms on a permanent deal with Michael Carrick’s side, which will allow Ayling and his young family to remain at their current North Yorkshire base.

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