Chelsea have been warned off Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson after the Teeside outfit slapped a huge price tag on the defender.
According to the Mirror, the Blues were joined by Everton in the race for the 23-year-old, but ‘Boro are under no illusions as to his importance for them.
Aitor Karanka has therefore named his price as an extortionate £35million – and it seems to have worked, as Chelsea are backing off.
The Premier League strugglers could do with any money Roman Abramovich has to offer, but if they sell Gibson, they know it could cost them even more – as he’s key to keeping them in the wealthy realms of the top flight.
Ironically, Chelsea aren’t willing to pay the £35million, but are still considering a £60million bid for Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci, though it’s fair to say the Italy international is different class.
If Gibson to Stamford Bridge isn’t therefore happening, all this has confirmed is that signing another defender is rightly Antonio Conte’s priority.
One of Conte’s first actions as manager was to buy David Luiz back from Paris Saint-Germain – which, quite amazingly, has worked quite well – but he is still in need of more homegrown talent. It looks as if Gibson won’t be the man to offer it.