Granada retain a keen interest in a move for Rovers defender Daniel Ayala.

The Lancashire Telegraph revealed last month that Aitor Karanka was keen on a reunion with the Spaniard, with sources in Spain indicating that interest remaining strong.

The pair worked together at Middlesbrough, with Ayala captain of the side that was promoted to the Premier League in 2016.

Granada confirmed Karanka would be kept on as manager in the wake of relegation from La Liga, with links to a possible move for Ayala soon materialising.

However, with Rovers short of options in central defence, and Ayala the most experienced player in the squad, it has been expected that he would be a key part of the club’s plans for the 2022/23 season.

Ayala has had an injury-hit two seasons at Ewood Park, having signed a three-year deal in 2020 following his departure from Middlesbrough, but has impressed in his 32 appearances he has managed.

The 31-year-old has a year left to run on his Rovers deal, but is understood to have impressed in pre-season training.

His experience is likely to be vital for the club, in the wake of the departure of captain Darragh Lenihan and Bradley Johnson.

Player of the year Jan Paul van Hecke has since returned to Brighton, with Ayala and Scott Wharton now Rovers’ two most senior options in the centre of their defence.

It is expected to be an area of the pitch that Rovers will look to strengthen in the summer window, given the departures of Lenihan and van Hecke.

Hayden Carter was part of the pre-season training camp in Portugal having finished last season with Portsmouth, while Tyler Magloire, who was loaned to Northampton Town in January, was also with the squad after seeing the one-year option in his deal taken up.

Ayala’s training time was managed by Rovers last pre-season, after missing much of the 2020/21 campaign through injury.

A groin problem kept him out for much of the second half of the season, but he did complete 90 minutes on the final day of the season at Birmingham City.

And it expected that Ayala will be part of the Rovers squad who will feature in the opening pre-season friendly at Accrington Stanley on Saturday.


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