The microscope has been firmly placed on Leeds United’s right-back options in the last few weeks and with Matt Doherty available on a free and looking for a Premier League club – Leeds have got to be in the mix to sign Doherty.

Doherty, 31, was a surprise exit on deadline day in January. While a move away from Spurs was expected, no-one predicted that the 34-time Ireland star would leave the club permanently – joining Atletico Madrid on a free transfer.

FIFA rules dictate that a club can only send eight players out on loan to foreign clubs. Spurs already had eight out on loan to clubs away from England. Doherty could not join Diego Simeone’s side on loan. Spurs cancelled his contract.

Even more surprisingly, he only signed a permanent six-month deal. It means he is likely to be on the move again in the summer. 90Min say he wants a Premier League club. Palace, Wolves, Burnley and Sheffield United all want him.

But Leeds have got to be in the mix. Ayling was dropped against Liverpool on Monday night, after a month or two of poor form – conceding the penalty against Arsenal. Rasmus Kristensen came in. His form has been inconsistent.

Rayo Vallecano v Atletico de Madrid - LaLiga Santander
Photo by Flor Tan Jun/Getty Images

Matt Doherty available on a free and Leeds have got to be in the mix

Ayling has penned a new deal until June 2024, and will surely remain if we get relegated. Kristensen may not, if the club go down. But if we stay up, what happens? Ayling again, will stay. He will be happy to remain as a squad player.

But Kristensen has to worry about his Denmark place – which he found in the latest international break. He initially missed out on a place, before a late call-up after scoring at Wolves. A lack of game time puts his place in jeopardy.

So, the Danish ace may request a move. Even if he doesn’t, Leeds need an improvement on the right flank and on a free, Doherty would provide some much-needed experience, and a source of goals. Leeds have to be interested.

Republic of Ireland V France. 2024 European Championship Qualifying, Group B.
Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

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