Garry Monk has said for weeks that transfers were still on the way, but he has been especially tight-lipped about who might be coming or going. On Thursday, we found out two names (with more likely still to come). One promising young talent is going out, and one experienced player coming in to fill a hole (or three).
First, Jordan Botaka is heading to Charlton Athletic on a season-long loan.
Botaka arrived at Leeds United in September 2015 with promise, a pacey midfielder with an eye for goal and good on the dribble, but he never found his footing with the first team squad and wasn’t in the 18 in either of the first two games this year. Garry Monk was blunt in an interview after the news broke:
“Jordan wasn’t in my plans going forward so you have to give (him) an opportunity to find other options.”
This season, he found himself behind too many players to have a reasonable chance at starting, so a season-long loan makes the most sense. Our midfield has struggled in the first two matches, but with Dallas, Roofe, Mowatt, Murphy, Doukara, and others ahead of him, this is probably for the best. Dealing from a position of strength (at least in numbers), Leeds needed to loan him out.
And addressing a position of weakness, Leeds made a signing I’m fairly excited about. Luke Ayling joins Leeds on a three-year contract from Bristol City. At 24 years old, Ayling won’t be confused for Sam Byram on the back line, but he did come through the ranks at Arsenal with our new starting centreback Kyle Bartley.
Ayling lists as a right back, and he played there the most with Bristol City, but he also has experience as both a central defensive mid and at centreback. After the first two matches reminded me (repeatedly) of our “error prone back four” of last season, I wouldn’t mind seeing him get the start as a centreback alongside Bartley as soon as he’s up to speed. A back four (when healthy) of Taylor-Bartley-Ayling-Berardi sounds good. If Monk would rather play him at rightback, Berardi won’t be thrilled. Coyle needs time, Cooper isn’t quite ready, Bamba makes too many mistakes. Let’s go with my suggestion, okay coach?
Monk seemed to like the signing, we’ll see how he uses him:
We need to strengthen in areas, defensively for one. Luke coming in is an important signing. He's a good experienced player and a very good professional. He has quality and he's a good addition to the squad.
Regardless, on the day, we improved where we needed to and loaned out a player that couldn’t make the squad. Thursday was a good day in Leeds. I still think we need a few more signings/loans before the deadline (BRIDCUTT PLEASE), but that was a good start.
Here’s everything the skipper had to say about the two moves:
What do you think? Will Ayling solidify a spot in the starting XI this season? Will he be a depth signing instead? Was Botaka never given enough of a chance? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading; on to Birmingham. #MOT