Everton target Ben Gibson may not be right partner for Michael Keane next season

According to Sky Sports, Everton are one of three Premier League clubs interested in signing £20m-rated Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson this summer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Sky Sports suggests that the 6ft 1in 25-year-old, who is the nephew of Boro owner Steve Gibson, is likely to be on his way out of the Riverside Stadium should they fail to clinch an immediate return to the Premier League – they currently lie in fifth position going into their penultimate match of the season at home to fellow promotion rivals Millwall on Saturday.

However, Sky Sports says he could stay if they do go up, although the interest from the Toffees, Leicester City and West Ham United could get serious whatever happens in the next couple of weeks.

How has Gibson done this season?

He has impressed, just like he did in the Premier League last term.

The Boro captain has played every minute of his side’s Championship campaign so far, with the Teesside outfit only conceding 43 times in their 44 league games prior to the visit of Millwall.

The 25-year-old is a leader and decent on the ball – he has a passing accuracy of 80.1% this season according to WhoScored.com – while he has shown his defensive qualities by making 259 clearances and winning 131 of the 227 aerial duels he has faced.

Would he be a good signing for Everton?

It’s difficult to say.

The Toffees certainly do need a new centre-back this summer with Ashley Williams, whom fans on Twitter have had enough of, and Phil Jagielka getting on and Ramiro Funes Mori’s future seemingly uncertain, but whether a partnership of Michael Keane and Gibson at the heart of the defence would be good enough for what they want to achieve in the future is another matter.

That said, with no European football on offer next season following a difficult campaign, the Merseyside outfit may not be able to attract the calibre of player they perhaps would have liked to this summer, unless they offer wages that those individuals can’t afford to reject.

While the 25-year-old could be a good addition at Goodison Park and would be accepted by the fans, it remains to be seen whether he is actually the club’s first-choice central defensive target, or not.