Middlesbrough are reportedly holding out for £25 million for Ben Gibson in order to ward off Chelsea’s interest in the English defender

According to a report in The Sun, Middlesbrough have slapped a hefty price tag of £25 million on Ben Gibson to ward off any interest in him from potential suitors. The 24-year-old is attracting interest from several clubs including Premier League champions, Chelsea.

Gibson progressed through the ranks at Middlesbrough, but had to spend loan spells at various lower league clubs before he finally managed to establish himself in his boyhood club’s first-team setup in 2013.

Since then though, the 24-year-old has grown by leaps and bounds and is now regarded as a key player at Riverside, having been a mainstay at the back for his side. Gibson has, perhaps, been the single most influential player for Boro in the last two seasons, as the club secured promotion to the Premier League before dropping straight back to the Championship.

And while Middlesbrough did get relegated, they were one of the most solid defensive units in the English top flight for large parts of the recently concluded season. Gibson was the standout player for them as he was ever present at the heart of his side’s defence as they put in resolute performances.

Will Gibson wear the blue of Chelsea? (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Will Gibson wear the blue of Chelsea? (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

His exploits for Middlesbrough also earned the player his first England callup. Alongside that, the interest in Gibson has skyrocketed as well over the past few months. Leading the chase for his signature are Chelsea, who were crowned as the Premier League champions in May.

Antonio Conte, though, is not resting on his laurels and is keen continue making improvements to his squad in order to defend the Premier League title in the forthcoming campaign while also mounting a challenge for the Champions League.

Defence is one of the areas that the Chelsea boss is keen to strengthen in the transfer window, with the inexperienced duo of Kurt Zouma and Nathan Ake the only other choices at his disposal beyond the first choice back-three of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill.

With Luiz and Cahill 30 or older, Gibson’s recruitment will help freshen up Conte’s options to an extent. The Blues, though, face stiff competition for the player’s services from the likes of Tottenham, Everton, Southampton, Leicester and Stoke City.

The likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City have also previously expressed an interest in signing Gibson, with each of these clubs in need of improving defensively ahead of the 2017/18 season.

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough are holding out for £25 million, with newly-appointed manager, Garry Monk keen to keep hold of the player. It now remains to be seen if Chelsea, or any of his other suitors are able to secure the services of Gibson in the summer transfer window, with competition heating up for him.

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