Rovers could face a decision over the future of defender Daniel Ayala this summer.

Ayala has had a frustrating first two seasons at Ewood Park but still has a year left to run on his contract.

He is the most senior player on the club’s books, and has a Championship promotion to his name, but has had a difficult time of things with Rovers.

The 31-year-old has managed only 32 appearances across an injury-hit first two years at the club, and there is the prospect of Rovers being approached by recently-relegated La Liga side Granada about the potential of a deal.

Granada have confirmed that Aitor Karanka, who joined the club in April, will be staying on as manager despite their relegation to the second-tier.

And there is talk in Spain that Karanka could make a move for Ayala, with the pair having won promotion together during their time at Middlesbrough.

This comes as Rovers are set to lose captain Darragh Lenihan to Boro on a free transfer, with the defender opting against extending his contract at Ewood Park.

Player of the year Jan Paul van Hecke has returned to parent club Brighton, with the pair, along with Scott Wharton, forging an excellent partnership that kept Ayala out of the team for much of last season.

Those departures would open the door for Ayala to be more of a regular next term having shown his qualities in the games he has appeared in for the club.

Yet the player, and Rovers, could see the chance for a fresh start should the interest from the Spanish side turn into something more concrete.

The Spaniard has played all of his career in England, but could see a link-up with Karanka as the right move for him, having previously been close to a move overseas prior to his move to Rovers.

Hayden Carter will return from another impressive loan spell in League One to compete for a spot in the side next season, while Wharton is again expected to be a key figure.

Rovers have used the loan market extensively in central defence in recent years, with Tosin Adarabioyo, Jarrad Branthwaite, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and van Hecke all recruited on season-long deals from Premier League clubs.

Lenihan has been a mainstay of the side, lessening the need previously for recruitment in that area, but that will likely change this summer, irrespective of whether Granada look to push through a deal for Ayala.


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