Barring some late drama, Liverpool and Spurs will both finish in the top four this season. The Reds and Lilywhites both occupy slots in the upper quartet, and with Manchester United and Arsenal wobbling, they just have to fend them off for a few weeks to secure Champions League football and the riches that brings.
Should they make it, the pair will surely look to strengthen this summer and reports from ESPN claim that Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson has made it onto both of their transfer radars. The 24-year-old has been a key cog in an impressive Boro rearguard this season, with his efforts helping the Teessiders to the fifth-best record in the division in terms of goals conceded (33), which is no mean feat considering they’re 19th.
As the numbers show, Gibson has been a rock at the back for his club, with his 171 clearances the greatest tally of any player at the Riverside Stadium. On top of this, the recently called up England man has also made 45 interceptions, won 41 aerial duels and emerged from 19 tackles with the ball, all while not committing a single defensive error – which is some going considering the pressure Boro have been under.
Both Spurs and Liverpool will surely be after a centre-back in a few months’ time. The Reds have the worst defensive record of any side in the Premier League’s top seven (37 conceded) and have been unable to find an authoritative partner for Joel Matip – who has looked a good signing. Spurs, meanwhile boast the best rearguard in the entire division with only 21 goals against, but Mauricio Pochettino has often struggled to find a third centre-back when operating with a back three, using Eric Dier or Ben Davies, both of whom have been effective in other positions.