Should Middlesbrough Sign Luke Ayling to a Permanent Deal?

With Middlesbrough’s thought to be keen on signing 32-year-old loanee Luke Ayling to a permanent deal following his six-month spell at The Riverside, certain supporters of the club have expressed their reservations about the potential deal.

Ayling’s Leeds United contract expires in the summer, meaning the experienced right-back cum centre-back will be available on a free transfer, and would seemingly welcome the switch to Boro. The dissent among sections of the support concerns the high wages the defender could demand, not his ability on the playing field.

Sitting ninth in the Championship with two rounds of fixtures to go, Middlesbrough face another season in English football’s second tier, and fans and sports bettors alike would appreciate some forward momentum from their favoured side, with the money that the club would spend on £1 million-rated Ayling’s high wages rather allocated to bringing in a younger player in his position.

Sports betting is big business, especially in football markets. Fans of large clubs like Middlesbrough eagerly await a time when they can pit their betting skills and use the live betting markets on their club its players against the likes of Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool and the other Premier League teams regularly.

As Ian Bruce, senior editor for SafestBettingSites raises some pertinent questions:

“If you are the kind of sports bettor who likes to bet on live events, then check out the site’s in-play betting options. How good is the coverage? Can you cash out and are the cash-out odds generous enough? Is live streaming of the events you frequently bet on available?” (source:

With live markets available in the major leagues across Europe, the Championship does not get the exposure of some of the bigger leagues, meaning those bettors wanting to gamble on Middlesbrough and other second-tier sides often miss out. The lure of top-league football is great and would be financially beneficial to clubs and online gamblers alike.

With five assists in his 17 appearances for Michael Carrick‘s side, Luke Ayling has been one of Middlesbrough’s better performers over his tenure, providing extra attacking options on the right, an area where Boro was lacking before he arrived in January. Despite this, Carrick’s tenure, with 36 wins in his 74 Championship games in charge, has not seen his Middlesbrough side improve markedly on those of its previous managers.

Chris Wilder, who battled to 16 wins in 40 league games, or Leo Percovich, who managed two wins in five during his short tenure. Since Ayling’s arrival, Middlesbrough’s form of only seven Championship wins in the 18 matches has seen them slip out of play-off contention. As such, fans are looking for improved viable options, as Middlesbrough fan pundit, Dana Malt :

“Although Luke Ayling’s performances have made me think and question my stance as to whether I want him to be signed by Boro permanently this summer, ultimately, I still think I am of the opinion that I would like to see Boro sign a different option. Most notably, a younger option that is more of an asset to Boro as a football club.

I will reiterate that his performances have made me think. They have been good, and he has linked up well with Latte Lath, and I think his deliveries from the right-hand side have been of good quality too, which has been really good to see.”

Malt continues, explaining the reasons why many Boro supporters would be happier with a right-back that shows progressive thinking from Middlesbrough’s hierarchy.

“…with two experienced options at right-back, it’s either him or Tommy Smith and I just have a feeling that Luke Ayling’s wages may be a little too much for Boro, given the fact that Leeds were a Premier League team last season.

“I know he is out of contract, but if financially it does not make sense, I think you step back, move away and look for a younger option at right-back and keep Tommy Smith as the competition for that summer signing.”

Writer’s View

Although Luke Ayling has performed admirably during his loan spell, Middlesbrough’s need for Premier League football outweighs his value to the club, as things stand. There has also been some regression in Boro’s results since Ayling arrived.

Although this downturn in form wasn’t a result of Ayling’s contributions, the high wages he would demand could be better used in areas within the team that need upgrading, not necessarily only for a starting right-back with Tommy Smith capable of doing a job for Middlesbrough in the EFL Championship.




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