According to latest reports, Middlesbrough defender, Ben Gibson has seemingly drawn out heavy interest from Southampton and Everton. The former England U21 international is touted to be worth £25m as Boro prepares to sell him following their failure to earn promotion to the Premier League.
Gibson has been thoroughly enjoyable to watch in his 51 appearances for the Championship outfit in which he delivered a goal and 3 assists. He has already represented the club in 204 games and still has 4 more seasons left on his contract.
The 24-year-old is a product of the club’s academy, having trained in the ranks since he was just 12. Gibson made his senior team debut in the 2-1 win over Coventry City on 25th April 2011. He captained the Boro reserves team to The Football Combination East Division title that very season.
The next three years were mostly spent out on loan to lower division outfits like Plymouth Argyle, York City and Tranmere Rovers. He got his major breakthrough in the 2014/15 season under then-manager, Tony Mawby.
Gibson’s development was finally recognized by Aitor Karanka who led the team to the 4th place finish in the following season, losing out to Norwich City in the playoff finals. Gibson helped the team win promotion in the 2015/16 campaign and remained with the club despite going down to relegation once again.
However, it looks like the time is now for him make the switch towards one of the top-flight big guns. Southampton are in no sense an established force in the Premier League. They just underwent a very close relegation scare, which they managed to avoid with the 37th game week win over Swansea City.
The loss of Virgil van Dijk has affected them more than they had anticipated and the team management is well aware of the money they might have to invest to find an able replacement. Mark Hughes’ system only works with a stable backline in place, as seen from his work with Stoke City.
The Saints will need to restructure if they play on improving upon their 2017/18 season performances anytime soon. There are players in the club who are misfits and could be offloaded to make way for better talents.
Gibson is a composed head who will be able to lead the backline on a regular basis. He is consistent with his responsibilities and also has a leadership mentality, which is a definite requirement at the St Mary’s.
Maybe the Englishman’s asking price will provide the rightful dividends in the years to come and it might be a very good decision on Southampton’s part to make a move for the experienced defender.