Middlesbrough have reportedly slapped a hefty price tag of £25 million on their star defender Ben Gibson as the race among top Premier League clubs to land him intensifies. The nephew of Boro chairman Steve Gibson, Ben Gibson has been a revelation last season, although his heroics couldn’t save the Teesside from getting relegated.
Despite new Boro boss Garry Monk desperately wanting to have the centre-half at Riverside next season, it would be extremely difficult for the Boro academy product to resist such lucrative offers from top clubs. Among his prime suitors remain the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton, Leicester, Southampton and Stoke City.
And the club who is more than likely to make the first move is of course Everton. The Toffees have already made a statement by splurging over £50 million to bring in the likes of Davy Klaassen and Jordan Pickford, and given their defensive predicament, they would be ready to pay the amount.
Ronald Koeman received a huge blow in March last season when he lost two of his first team defenders Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori over a span of one week. The Dutch boss had to resort to aged Phil Jagielka and young Mason Holgate in the last few weeks of the season. And with the defenders not scheduled to return to first team action before the second half of the season, Everton are in desperate need of a centre-half.
At 24, Ben Gibson could be the ideal addition as apart from Jagielka the other option of Ashley Williams has also stepped on the wrong side of 30. Everton are looking at a long-term solution and Gibson alongside Funes Mori could secure their backline for the next five to seven years.
Gibson was the first choice for both Aitor Karanka and Steven Agnew and he was a crucial part of Boro’s adamant defence. The side had some majestic defensive displays against the best of attacks the last term and they ended up soaking huge pressure. They ended up conceding only 53 goals, which is lesser than the likes of Watford, Burnley, Swansea City, Crystal Palace, West Ham United, Leicester City and more and still got relegated.
Gibson personifies Boro’s disciplined defending and his impressive displays earned him a national call-up too. He managed to score a goal and provide an assist. He is really dominant in aerial duels and reads the game brilliantly. Gibson’s brilliant growth could be credited to his previous loan stints with Plymouth, York City and Tranmere Rovers.
At 185cm, he is the physically quite fit to play at the top level and his pace on the ball makes him a suitable left-back too, as and when added. Everton would have a real catch for the future at the bountiful price tag.