Daniel Ayala should be on Burnley radar
Harry Murphy/GettyImahes

Middlesbrough defender Daniel Ayala looks set to unceremoniously leave the Championship club in July after falling out with the board. 

Ayala was willing to extend his contract at Boro but has now refused to play after receiving an "insulting" offer from the North East outfit. Football League World reported in February that Middlesbrough desperately needed to trim the wage bill and that Ayala would have needed to take a pay cut if he was to remain with the club. They may already have his replacement lined up. 

Swap shop 

Ben Gibson has virtually cut all ties with Burnley. Before the lockdown, Gibson decided he wanted to train with his former club, possibly for the benefit of his own mental health.

The defender arrived at Turf Moor as the club's joint-record signing alongside Chris Wood but he has received very few opportunities to prove himself. That is largely down to the formidable partnership of James Tarkowski and Ben Mee but, nonetheless, Gibson will feel immensely frustrated at missing out on almost two seasons of football.

Such is the current situation, Gibson may well take a drastic pay-cut to sign up with Boro. It is his boyhood club and, right now, a return to his hometown might help him to get through this tough period. Middlesbrough could get away with a cut-price transfer fee as well, much less than the £15-million that they had initially sold him for.

Burnley could do worse than swooping in on Ayala. The Clarets would be getting an experienced performer who, at 29, still has a lot to give. 

Ayala started his senior career at Liverpool but struggled to nail down a regular place in the team. He spent more of his time out on loan before joining Norwich City. It was a similar story with the Canaries as Ayala was loaned to Nottingham Forest and then Middlesbrough. He has been with the Teessiders since 2014. 

Cost effective

The Spaniard is a steady, if unspectacular, presence in the defence. Wages wouldn't be a problem with the Clarets who could probably pay him more than Boro but significantly less than the £40,000-per-week that Gibson was taking in. He might not be a player you would want to feature every single week but he would certainly fit the remit as a squad option.  

Burnley, like everybody else, are facing a very different transfer market in which valuations will be all over the place. The club will undoubtedly see free transfers as a way of bypassing those dilemmas.