Leeds United are reportedly one of a number of sides interested in signing Burnley centre-back Ben Gibson.
Gibson joined the Premier League side last summer but, according to the Northern Echo, the Clarets are open to seeing him leave before the transfer window closes.
It appears Leeds will face some stern competition for the 26-year-old, with a number of Premier League clubs and fellow Championship side Middlesbrough thought to also be interested.
In our six pointer today, we quiz FLW writer Ned Holmes on the situation surrounding the Whites’ interest in Gibson.
Firstly, do they need him?
“Yes, they’re still yet to add a replacement after Pontus Jansson left to join Brentford.”
“Jansson has been a mainstay in the Leeds side since he joined in 2016, playing more than 33 Championship games every season since, and his departure leaves a big gap at the back.
“Summer loan signing Ben White is understood to be seen as the replacement by Marcelo Bielsa, but the Whites could still do with adding another centre-back seeing as Gaetano Berardi is the only other option in their senior squad.”
What does he offer?
“Gibson is an assured defender who thrived in the Championship at Middlesbrough and put in some solid performances in their disappointing season in the Premier League in 2016/17.
“His 148 Championship appearances would make him a real asset to Bielsa’s squad, as would his experience getting promoted to the English top flight.
“Having taken the armband at Boro, he will also bring some real leadership qualities, which could be hugely important ahead of a season when the pressure of expectation will be high on the Leeds squad.”
How did he manage last season?
“Gibson will likely want to forget about the 2018/19 campaign.
“After sealing a move to Turf Moor, the 26-year-old struggled to make any real impact and made just five appearances all season.”
What will he cost them?
“This could prove a stumbling block for the Whites.
“Gibson cost Burnley a club-record £15 million when he made the switch from Boro last summer and though his first season has been disappointing, they will surely be looking to recover a fair amount of that.
“With the club having suggested that the sale of Jansson was due to financial fair play issues, I can’t imagine Leeds could stump up the fee now but a loan or a loan-to-buy in the mould of the Helder Costa deal could be an option.
“There have also been suggestions that Sean Dyche is interested in a move for Bailey Peacock-Farrell, so he could be used in negotiations.”
Would it be a good move?
“If they can get it done then I think it would be an excellent move.
“It has been suggested that Bielsa believes White is the man to fill the gap left by Jansson but given he has never played above League One level, other than two EFL Cup games for Brighton, I think it is a real risk.
“Gibson is a proven centre-back who has shown he has what it takes to handle the pressure – if Leeds can get this done then I think it would be a huge boost to their promotion hopes.”
Finally, does it look likely?
“I can’t see this deal getting done if I am honest.
“Leeds face some serious competition as Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Norwich City, Sheffield United, and Middlesbrough are all reportedly interested in the defender.
“Gibson has made it to the Premier League, is he going to want to drop back into the Championship if an option in the top flight is there? I don’t think so.
“The financial side of the deal is also an issue. The Premier League teams will likely be able to offer a larger fee to Burnley and a higher wage to Gibson.
“If it were just Leeds interested then I could see them working out some sort of deal with the Clarets but with so many other teams queuing up, I think they will struggle.
“It looks like their only chance rests on how interested Burnley are in a move for Peacock-Farrell.”