Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City are believed to be heading on a collision course on the transfer market in June as the two English giants square off to sign Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson.
Despite his relatively young age, the 24-year-old Gibson is already a first-team regular for Boro. Perhaps more impressively, this is his first season in the Premier League and he is playing well despite the scrutiny placed on his shoulders.
The young centre-back, a product of Middlesbrough’s academy, has been ever-present for the Smoggies this season, his composure on the ball apparent in his 27 league appearances for the club so far, earning him praise from fans and pundits alike.
On the international front, Gibson already has 20 Under-21 caps for England on his belt and seems destined to be one of the Premier League greats – which has attracted attention from a handful of England’s elite.
One of those clubs are current league leaders Chelsea. According to the Daily Star, Blues boss Antonio Conte is thought to be a fan of Gibson and see the English defender as an ideal long-term replacement for veteran John Terry. Indeed, both players have the international pedigree and both possess a levelheadedness required in defending under pressure.
However, the London heavyweights are facing competition from Manchester City, who are also keen on signing the wonderkid. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is believed to be disappointed in his side’s defensive form this season and is hoping a youthful injection would prove pivotal in changing that – with Gibson the target.
Middlesbrough, who are struggling to stay in the Premier League at the moment, may find it near-impossible to keep hold of their young star should they get relegated at the end of the season. Regardless, they will certainly fight to get the most out of Gibson should push come to shove – as they have slapped a £25-million price tag on the defender’s head to ward off his suitors.
However, with the embarrassment of riches both Chelsea and Manchester City possess, it would be unlikely the two clubs will be thwarted by such relatively meagre demands.
Of course, whether any of these two Premier League top dogs would eventually make a formal bid for Gibson in the summer remains to be seen.
Gibson’s contract with Middlesbrough is set to run until 2021.