Speaking to Sky Sports, Tony Pulis has admitted it will be hard to lure Ben Gibson away from Middlesbrough this summer, despite their relegation to the Sky Bet Championship.
There is firm interest in Gibson from Pulis and West Bromwich Albion, with the Premier League side already having numerous bids turned down by Boro for the defender’s service.
Reports suggest that the latest of those bids to be turned down was a club-record £21m, with Boro reluctant to sell Gibson unless it is to a ‘top-six’ Premier League club.
Pulis has now broken his silence on West Brom’s pursuit of Gibson, he told Sky Sports: “(Middlesbrough chairman) Steve Gibson has had a right go and ploughed a lot of money again into the playing side.
“They’ll be looking to get promoted again and you can understand they do not want to get rid of Ben.
“We have had enquiries for Ben and we’ve had enquiries for other players as well. We’ll see how those enquiries go, but I think it’s going to be very hard to get Ben out of Middlesbrough.”
Boro have invested heavily in their playing squad this summer, with the £15m addition of Britt Assombalonga standing out.
Garry Monk has expressed his desire to keep Gibson at the Riverside Stadium this summer, as he aims to help the Teessiders to an instant top-flight return next season.
Gibson impressed for his boyhood club last season, featuring in every Premier League fixture and helping Boro keep 11 clean sheets across the campaign.
The 24-year-old’s form saw him earn a call-up to the England senior squad for the first time in his career, and despite the defender not yet earning his first cap, he is clearly in Gareth Southgate’s long-term plan.
It is clear to see why Boro want to retain the service of Gibson, particularly after the impact he has had at the Riverside Stadium over the last two seasons.
Steve Gibson and Monk have significantly bolstered Boro’s squad already this summer, spending some serious money to ensure they are fighting for promotion back to the Premier League.
The loss of Gibson would dent Boro’s promotion hopes, but the Teessiders will be confident that if they can recoup a hefty transfer fee for the defender, then they will be able to find a suitable Championship replacement.
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