December 10 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Norwich City centre-back Daniel Ayala has joined managerless Middlesbrough on a three-month loan deal.
The 22-year-old Spaniard completed a long-rumoured switch to the Championship strugglers, who saw boss Tony Mowbray depart earlier this week.
Former Norwich manager Martin O’Neill has been linked with the vacancy on Teesside, while Ayala will be welcomed by the familiar faces of former Canaries team-mates Kei Kamara and Jacob Butterfield at the Riverside Stadium.
According to the Evening Gazette, Ayala has been a long-time transfer target and Boro will look to extend the loan until the end of the season once the January transfer window opens.
Ayala trained with his new team-mates on Wednesday morning and could be involved in the Championship clash at home to Doncaster on Friday night, which will also be the first game under caretaker manager and Mowbray’s assistant Mark Venus.
Boro reportedly came close on deadline day at the start of September and again at the end of the month to signing the former Liverpool centre-back – second time around, even agreeing terms and passing a medical before Chris Hughton called off the deal due to defensive injury problems of his own.
But with Norwich’s current relative clean bill of health, Hughton has finally allowed Ayala to leave – and hopefully help out a Boro side that has conceded 21 goals in 12 Championship fixtures this season.
Ayala was signed by Paul Lambert from Anfield for approaching £1m with much fanfare in 2011 as City looked to establish themselves in the Championship after becoming League One champions, but only made 10 albeit promising appearances across two injury-hit seasons under the Scot.
His chances have been even harder to come by under Hughton. A season-long Championship loan at Nottingham Forest was also hit by fitness issues as he made 14 appearances – all coming the middle of January.
He featured on the Canaries’ pre-season tour to the United States but did not make a competitive appearance this season.
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich’s soft centre again contributed to their downfall as Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to a 5-1 Premier League win on Wednesday night at Anfield.