According to a recent report in The Daily Mirror, Southampton are keen on luring Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson to St Mary’s this summer. The Saints are on the lookout for reinforcements after narrowly avoiding Premier League relegation last term, and with Boro having sealed a deal for centre back Aden Flint recently, the door could be open for the South Coast to finally land 25-year-old Gibson.
Ultimately, while the Saints were by no means the worst side defensively in the top-flight last season, they will surely be seeking to replace the hugely influential Virgil van Dijk, who of course left the club for Liverpool back in January.
And while the likes of Wesley Hoedt, Maya Yoshida, and Jack Stephens performed well in the heat of Mark Hughes’ backline last term, it’s clear that another accomplished Premier League centre back is needed to solidify the defensive unit even further.
And Middlesbrough’s Gibson certainly appears to be that man, what with the Englishman proving his credentials in the top-flight back in the 2016/17 campaign in helping Boro to the best defensive record of any time that finished in the bottom half of the Premier League.
Yes, it wasn’t enough to keep Aitor Karanka’s side in the top tier, but he certainly cannot be blamed for their demise, with it telling how good a defender he was that term given he was called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for friendlies back in March 2017.
And with another fine season for Boro in the Championship last time round, in which he played every minute of their 46 league games, it’s clear that the 25-year-old is ready to return to the Premier League, and where better than a Southampton side seeking to return to the top half of the division next time round.
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Significantly, Flint’s recent move from Bristol City to the Riverside Stadium could open the door for the Saints to move for Gibson, as it’s perfectly plausible that Tony Pulis has brought in 28-year-old Flint in preparation for the Englishman’s departure.
Ultimately, Southampton, and indeed Everton, have been linked with a move for the 25-year-old in recent times to suggest that a move could well take place this summer – Flint’s arrival is only going to add to the speculation, at the same time potentially opening a door for Hughes’ men to finally land the £9 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt).
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!