Newcastle United are now being widely linked with Ben Gibson.
They are in good company as a number of current Premier League clubs are also said to be planning to move for the 24 year old, especially if Middlesbrough are relegated – which is looking very likely at this moment in time.
Ben Gibson can play at both centre-back & left-back and has been a key part of an excellent Boro defence this season, playing every minute of 28 of their 29 Premier League match.
Remarkably, despite having only Sunderland below them in the table, Middlesbrough have conceded only 33 goals in their 29 matches, with only five conceding less. The likes of fourth placed Liverpool conceding more, the same with sixth placed Arsenal.
It is at the other end where Boro have really struggled, their 20 goals the very lowest in the Premier League.
There is no doubt that if promoted, Newcastle must spend money to strengthen pretty much every part of the team and whilst players who can create and score goals will be a massive priority, I think most NUFC fans would see the need for at least a couple of defenders – with left-back and centre-back the priorities.
Having a player like Ben Gibson who can fill both roles would seem to be a perfect fit.
Paul Dummett is wholehearted and if his pace/attacking ability matched his attitude then he would be a Premier League player…
Likewise, whilst the media rarely acknowledge it (Mick Quinn included him in his best 11 players of the entire Championship, ahead of Ciaran Clark!), there is much discussion amongst Newcastle fans as to whether Jamaal Lascelles would be good enough to be first choice in the Premier League.
As for Ben Gibson, it is ironic that now he is being talked about as having a present day value of anything up to £20m. The irony being that the defender was in the unusual position earlier in his career, where some fans voiced concerns over whether he was only getting his game because the club’s owner was his uncle.
Yes, what would be the odds of a Premier League club owner, having a close relation who was good enough to play in the top tier and potentially for England (he has played all levels up to and including Under 21s)?
The local papers question whether Rafa Benitez would be allowed to pay anything close to £20m for a defender, even if Newcastle are promoted.
Most fans would reply with could NUFC afford not to pay that price if Rafa Benitez thinks it is a key signing that is needed?
Any supporters who were around at the time will tell you that Ben Gibson’s idol, Jonathan Woodgate, was worth every bit as much as any striker, the central defender surely the best that most still living Newcastle fans have ever seen.
Newcastle United have a very long history of investing far less money on the defence compared to midfield and attack, I can’t see Rafa Benitez making that same mistake.