Daniel Ayala reacts to Leeds United and Stoke City reports ahead of January transfer window
Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala says he’s not thinking about leaving in January – despite reports linking him with Championship rivals Leeds United and Stoke City.
The 29-year-old, who signed for Boro in 2013, will be out of contract at the end of this season and negotiations over a new deal are taking time.
Ayala has been one of the standout performers for Jonathan Woodgate’s side this term and it would not be a surprise if offers were made for the Spaniard.
But the experienced centre-back, who has captained Boro for most of the campaign, is trying to stay focused.
“Of course I see all the speculation, my friends send me all the stories and that is normal,” said the defender. “But really I have to tell you that I only concentrate on Middlesbrough and I’m not thinking about leaving in January or anything like that.
“Unless something really big happens - and I don’t think it will - I will definitely be at Middlesbrough until the end of the season. I have been here seven years and I’ve said before, I love this club. I don’t really think about going elsewhere.
“I just want to stay here and let’s see what happens.”
Ayala also admitted January can be a distracting time for players, especially with uncertainty over in and outgoings.
“Yes, of course,” said the defender when asked if January can be a disruptive period. “But the way I see it is that I am not going anywhere.
“It is really important for the club to do some good business and bring in two or three loan players because at the moment we have a thin squad and we need some players.
“I think we need players in every area. We are lacking in every department. Especially at the moment we have a lot of injuries and a lot of big players have been out.”
When asked if there have been any developments with his contract negotiations, Ayala said: “Not at the moment. I’m not really concentrating on my contract right now.
“We need to focus on picking up points and we can soon be in mid-table.”