Bengaluru, June 13: Merseysiders Everton have reportedly turned to Middlesbrough's Ben Gibson after refusing to enter a bidding war for in demand Newcastle United defender Jamaal Lascelles.
New Toffees manager Marco Silva desperately wants defensive reinforcements and had identified the Tyne-side club captain as his no. 1 target. But, now it seems that he is ready to switch his attention to Boro’s £20million-rated centre-half Ben Gibson, according to the Northern Echo.
Everton had registered their interest in 24-year-old Lascelles, but Newcastle chiefs are reluctant to sell and will demand at least £30m for the star. However, Chelsea and Tottenham are also keen and the Premier League powerhouses' interest is believed to have convinced St. James’ Park officials they will receive a higher figure if they do decide to let him leave.
There is also an interest from Everton's cross-town rivals Liverpool and Everton realize that they might not be able to compete with the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs and should focus on other players and Gibson has attracted their interest quite rightly.
Everton need to free up some wage bill of their squad to sign new players and are looking to cash in on some of their higher paid players.
Silva knows a £30m plus outlay of Lascelles would take a huge chunk out of his budget and is believed to have put Gibson’s name to his bosses as an alternative.
South coast side Southampton are also lining-up a swoop to bring the 25-year-old to the St. Mary's after a poor season by the club that almost saw them get relegated.
Gibson impressed massively despite Boro’s relegation from the Premier League in the 2016/17 campaign, leading to a first England call-up. He certainly deserves another chance in the top tier of English football and would certainly welcome the interest from Everton.
Boro chairman Steve Gibson, the ace’s uncle, rejected two offers from Stoke City a year ago to hold on to his nephew. Gibson started every game last season bar one but was unable to lead his side back to the top-flight as they suffered play-off defeat to Aston Villa.