Everton will target Middlesbrough ace Ben Gibson after giving up on Newcastle United’s Jamaal Lascelles, The Yorkshire Post is reporting.
Newcastle are demanding £30m for Lascelles, who was Everton’s top target, forcing the Toffees to look elsewhere for their central defensive additions.
New Everton manager Marco Silva is keen to strengthen at the back as he seeks long-term replacements for Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams to partner Michael Keane.
Gibson, who is rated at about £20m by Boro, is now on the Merseyside club’s radar this summer.
The local boy has been with the club since the age of 12 and has stuck by his side in the Championship and the Premier League, despite previous interest from some big clubs.
Following Middlesbrough’s relegation to the second tier last May, many expected Gibson to finally depart but he decided to remain at The Riverside Stadium for the promotion push – which eventually fell short in the play-off semi-finals.
The former England under-21 international has previously been called up to the senior national side and he knows that his international ambitions will only be fulfilled if he returns to the top flight.
So Boro face a battle to hold onto the 25-year-old, who is the club’s skipper, with Everton lurking.
At the age of 25, Gibson is relatively young for a defender but he is a leader at the back and has already racked up over 200 appearances for Boro’s first-team.
The solid centre-half proved his worth in the Premier League last season and £20m could be a decent investment by Everton.
Middlesbrough could sell him for a reasonable price and they already have some replacements ready in Ryan Shotton and Dael Fry, who could partner Daniel Ayala at the back.
Boro fans – Would you take £20m for Gibson? Let us know below…
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