Middlesbrough have seven players out of contract in the summer, and they could be allowed to leave the club for free if they aren’t tied down.

George Friend, Dani Ayala, Jonny Howson, Adam Clayton, Ryan Shotton, Rudy Gestede and Marvin Johnson are the seven players that Middlesbrough risk losing for nothing at the end of the season.

All of those who’s contracts are coming to an end are experienced Championship players, and Clayton, Friend and Ayala were even playing Premier League football with Boro just two years ago.

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The latter is one of Boro’s longest serving players, with the Spaniard having signed initially on loan back in 2013 from Norwich City. Ayala has gone on to rack up over 200 appearances for the Teessiders since arriving and he is one of the club’s only senior centre-backs.

Along with Ayala, Dael Fry is the only other natural choice in the centre of defence, with the likes of Jonny Howson, George Friend and Ryan Shotton providing cover despite their natural positions being in midfield and at full-back respectively.

Ayala’s experience will be vital if Boro are to stay in the Championship, and a poll from Football League World shows that supporters feel this way too.

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Middlesbrough fans were asked ‘Should Daniel Ayala be offered a new contract with Middlesbrough?’, with 641 votes for yes and just 89 for no.

The poll comes off the back of an article on the same site, with former-Boro striker Andy Campbell stating he was ‘confused’ as to why Ayala’s contract has been allowed to run down, especially amidst rumours linking the 29-year old to Leeds United.

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Lifelong Boro fan - from the highs of watching Juninho and the Carling Cup victory, to the lows of Gordon Strachan and Lee Dong Gook