Arsenal have joined Chelsea and Manchester City in the the race for Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, according to reports
According to the Evening Standard, Arsenal have been keeping tabs on the left-footed defender and have shown serious interest in the 24-year old Englishman.
Gibson, who is the nephew of Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson, has been one of Middlesbrough’s standout performers this season despite the club languishing in 18th place and currently fighting a losing battle with relegation.
Gibson has featured exclusively as a centre-back this season and has been one of the most consistent players in Aitor Karanka’s side – despite this being his first full season in the English Premier League.
This season, Gibson has been registering an average of 0.69 tackles won, 1 block, 1.54 interceptions, 1.27 aerial duels won and an impressive 6 clearances per 90 minutes in the English Premier League, according to Squawka. He has also scored 1 goal in his 27 Premier League appearances for Boro.
Gibson is clearly highly valued at the club, given that the 24-year old signed a 5-year contract in August last year. But, should Middlesbrough be relegated this season, they will find it very difficult to keep hold of him.
The Evening Standard claim that Boro would seek up to £30 million for their player, who came through the club’s academy system, although the fee might reduce a certain amount should Karanka’s side get relegated to the Championship this season.
Arsenal currently have their own defender on Middlesbrough’s books in Calum Chambers, but are still on the lookout for replacements despite also having Rob Holding at the club. Gabriel Paulista has failed to impress during his time in England and Per Mertesacker is not a viable long-term option even as backup for the Gunners.
The Standard claim that Arsene Wenger’s uncertain future at the club means their transfer plans have not been finalised, but the Gunners might have to face stiff competition from other clubs for Gibson’s signature in any case.
Chelsea have been scouting Gibson over the last few months and Antonio Conte is said to be an admirer of the Englishman. The Blues need a long-term replacement for John Terry and are currently short in central defense, with Branislav Ivanovic having also left the club in January.
Chelsea will definitely need to add depth to their side next season as they contend with the added pressure of the UEFA Champions League and Conte has identified Gibson as one of the players to add to their squad.
Manchester City are also reportedly pursuing the Middlesbrough defender as they also look to rebuild City’s defense. Vincent Kompany has been plagued by injuries this season and cannot be relied upon, while John Stones has not fully settled down as yet.
City’s ageing squad also means that they need an injection of youth to their side. And, at 24, Gibson would bring just that.