Leeds United have signed Luke Ayling to a new 4-year contract committing him to the club until 2021.
Ayling’s previous contract was due to expire at the end of next season and all fans had agreed that he both needed, and deserved, a new deal. The club has duly obliged.
The defender was signed at the start of last season for a very modest fee (believed to be around £750,000) from Bristol City and quickly established himself as one of the best full-backs in the division.
The 26-year-old has made 58 appearances for the club in all competitions, and is the only player to start every game in both the Championship and the Carabao Cup this season.
The popular defender told LUTV: “I’m buzzing to have signed and now you are stuck with me for another four years.
“It is great to finally get it done, we have been speaking since late August, but obviously there has been a lot going on with the transfer window.
“My baby has been born here, I’ve bought a house nearby and this really feels like home now.”
Some fans were underwhelmed by the signing at the time but the defender proved his doubters wrong. Which he addressed during the club’s in-house interview.
“Obviously when I signed, a few people didn’t know me, but I knew I could play at this level, I’ve come in and tried my best and given my all in every game and I think this is why the fans like me.
“Since joining I feel like I’ve held the right-back spot to myself and fought some really good full-backs off and hopefully I can keep doing it.
“In the last 18 months I feel I’ve been in the best form of my career, barring the last few games, but I’m sure I will get back to that level.
“We’re going in the right direction, it shows the owner cares about the future of the club, he’s bought the ground back, the training ground has been done up and players are getting long contracts, so it shows he is here for the long run.”
Ayling was widely considered to be the last senior player whom the club needed to tie down to a new deal. It is another piece of business that will stand owner Andrea Radrizzani in good stead with the fans.