Leeds United defender Liam Cooper could be the next senior player who could leave Elland Road at some point after Luke Ayling’s exit, according to Phil Hay.
Ayling left the Whites to join Middlesbrough last week, and his time at the club has come to an end. He has a contract at Elland Road until the end of the season, which means he has already played his last game.
Writing for The Athletic, Hay says that “down the line”, Cooper is highly likely to follow Ayling towards the exit door. He is an important player under Daniel Farke, and the club won’t sell him in the January window.
However, there is a feeling that his contract won’t be renewed in May. The “excellent” defender has made seven starts in the Championship this season, and a further five appearances have come from the bench.
After Leeds got demoted to the Championship, Farke needed to keep hold of some of his experienced players. Cooper is still the captain of the side and his presence in the dressing room makes a lot of difference as Leeds are aiming to return to the Premier League quickly.
There is a feeling that some of the old guards have passed their prime and they are unlikely to contribute in a big way going forward. In that case, it makes sense for Farke to let Cooper go after the end of the season.
The future of Charlie Cresswell is another important talking point as well. Farke has made it clear that the ball is in Cresswell’s court at the moment. Either he can leave or continue working as a fourth-choice defender.
If the club do not want to keep Cooper beyond the end of the season, then they should be looking to nurture Cresswell properly. He is an exciting young defender who could be a long-term replacement for Cooper, and he won’t cost a penny.
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