Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating the remainder of the summer transfer window, what with their team eyeing up signings that will move them away from the Premier League’s relegation zone for good.
Mark Hughes’ men narrowly avoided the drop this time round, with their 1-0 success at Swansea City in their penultimate game of the season proving to be crucial in keeping the Saints up, and indeed relegating the South Wales outfit. And with manager Hughes having penned a long-term deal to remain as the club’s manager in recent times, our resident Southampton fans are looking forward to the future, but are well aware that additions are needed this summer to avoid another woeful campaign next time round.
And one man who could be on his way to St Mary’s is Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, who is reportedly on the club’s radar as they seek to bolster their defensive ranks following the January departure of Virgil van Dijk.
Everton are also thought to be keen on the £9 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt), although the greater likelihood of first team football at Southampton, alongside Michael Keane’s struggles at Goodison Park this season, should convince him to opt for the South Coast over Merseyside.
Ultimately, it has been a testing campaign for Everton, what with Ronald Koeman sacked back in October to be replaced by Sam Allardyce, who has since been relieved of his duties despite leading the club to eighth in the Premier League.
And many of their summer signings simply weren’t able to hit the ground running, not least England international Keane, who moved to Goodison Park from Burnley 12 months ago amid much anticipating and excitement, yet simply hasn’t been able to deliver the goods.
And that will likely be of interest to compatriot Gibson, who could well be wary of Keane’s struggles, while it remains to be seen whether he would indeed get into the starting eleven at the expense of Keane, Ramiro Funes Mori, and Mason Holgate, and indeed the experienced duo of Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka.
Whereas van Dijk’s departure for Liverpool back in January has left a gaping hole in Southampton’s central defensive ranks, ranks that clearly need strengthening if they are to pull clear of danger next term.
Wesley Hoedt has performed solidly since his move from Lazio last summer, while the likes of Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida have also done a job in the heart of their backline – but it’s clear that reinforcements are necessary.
And Gibson’s arrival would certainly bolster those ranks, as the 25-year-old proved to be a hugely adept Premier League defender in the 2016/17 campaign in helping Middlesbrough to the best defensive record of any side in the bottom half, albeit they were relegated.
Regardless, the Englishman is a very strong and talented defender and one that would almost certainly command regular first team football at St Mary’s, which is why he should forget about Everton and instead opt for Southampton this summer.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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