In Focus: Chelsea should aim higher as Gibson says he wants Premier League return

According to an interview on Sky Sports, Chelsea transfer target Ben Gibson says he wants to be playing his football in the Premier League.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Blues boss Antonio Conte is keen to sign at least one new centre-back with John Terry leaving the club this summer and one of the names he has been linked with is the Middlesbrough defender.

According to the Daily Mail, Boro chairman Steve Gibson is said to be confident that his nephew will stay with the club in order to lead them back to the Premier League after they suffered an immediate return to the Championship.

However, the 24-year-old has given no assurances that he will stay at the Riverside Stadium and aims to be playing in the top flight.

What did he say?

Gibson told Sky Sports: “It’s been a hard year for everyone. What I would say is that since I came here at 10 years old, I’ve given my lot for the football club.

“I think every player in the world wants to play in the Premier League, everyone wants to play at the top level. I’m no different to that.

“What I would say is that no decision has been made regarding my future as of yet.”

How well did Gibson do last season?

Despite the fact that Middlesbrough were relegated, their main issue was scoring goals rather than letting them in at the other end.

The Boro captain has appeared in every Premier League game prior to their final day clash away at Liverpool, helping them concede just 50 goals – the least of any team in the bottom half of the table – in 37 matches and keeping 11 clean sheets in the process.

He also showed great leadership at the back and was ready to put his body on the line – something that will bring obvious comparisons with Terry – while he also received his first call up to the England squad in March.

Would he be a good addition for Chelsea?

As a back-up player who could play in domestic cup matches and some of the matches against the smaller teams in the Premier League, he certainly would be.

While Conte wants to strengthen his defence this summer, it will be difficult to change the reliable back three of Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and David Luiz, which would leave Gibson battling Nathan Ake, Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen when the Italian boss did make changes to his starting line-up.

What’s the verdict, then?

Well, while Gibson would be a decent addition for Chelsea, it does seem like a strange move for a player that probably wouldn’t be first choice.

The Blues already have Ake, Christensen and Zouma in reserve, and they should look to bring in a player who is better than what they already have instead.

Whether the 24-year-old would want to move to a club where he wouldn’t be guaranteed regular playing time also remains to be seen as he looks to force his way into the reckoning for the 2018 World Cup.