Despite Middlesbrough’s failure to stay in the Premier League last season, Ben Gibson emerged as one of the silver linings for the Riverside-based outfit. One of the first and foremost tasks for new Boro manager Garry Monk would be to keep the 24-year-old defender in the ranks of the club, but apparently, it appears to be a very tough ask.
Reports have stated that Gibson is on the radar of as many as six English top flight sides, with Southampton as one of the frontrunners to make him put pen to the paper. He would be keen to ensure that he plies his trade in the English top flight to bolster his chances with the English national side. Despite the hefty price tag £25million slapped by Middlesbrough on his collar, his admirers haven’t given up on their pursuit.
Southampton’s interest makes perfect sense owing to the fact that Virgil Van Dijk isn’t likely to stay at St. Mary’s amidst the interest from teams like Chelsea and Liverpool. A centre-back like Gibson would seamlessly slot into the tactical setup of the new manager in Mauricio Pellegrino, having proved his worth in the Premier League and wouldn’t be a huge risk, to be honest.
Having emerged through the youth ranks of the Smoggies, he has spent his entire career with them. Tall, strong, technically sound and thoroughly resilient, Gibson is a shrewd defender and holds the ball really well at the back. He is a calm and composed figure and hardly puts a foot wrong while catering to his responsibilities, reads the game well and considering his age, his career is likely to see an upward trajectory.
Last campaign, Gibson made 38 appearances for his employers in the Premier League, whilst which he won 23 tackles with a success rate of 48%, made 57 interceptions, 225 clearances and 33 blocks. Further, he also registered a pass accuracy of 84% and found the back of the net once and no wonder why his stocks have risen so fast. A player of his calibre should attempt to stay in the top tier and Southampton could be a lucrative option.
The Saints have carved a good name for themselves in the books of football fraternity owing to the manner in which they mould the youngsters into superstars. With Gibson in their arsenal, there would certainly be a rise in quality as well as quantity and will hold the Saints in good stead heading into the next season.
Statistics Credits: Squawka