In Focus: Tottenham right to target Ben Gibson but he isn’t worth £30m

According to an article on the futures of England players in the Daily Mail, Tottenham Hotspur have shown an initial interest in £30m-rated Middlesbrough centre-back Ben Gibson, with Premier League rivals Chelsea and Liverpool also keen.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Spurs have been linked with Manchester United’s Chris Smalling and Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson in the last week and it would suggest that manager Mauricio Pochettino is looking to sign a new central defender this summer.

The Argentine will want to provide more competition for Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld – whose talks over a new contract with the north London outfit have stalled – as well as having a natural centre-back in the system with a three-man defence that was his preference in the closing weeks of the campaign, instead of Eric Dier.

Boro certainly won’t want to lose their captain but following relegation to the Championship and the fact that Gibson will want to stay in contention for a place in the England squad for the 2018 World Cup, a move back to the Premier League could be on the cards.

How did Gibson do last season?

Despite Middlesbrough suffering relegation, it was more to do with their lack of goals rather than a shaky backline and the 24-year-old came out of the season with a lot of credit for his performances.

A leader and willing to put his body on the line – he made 225 clearances in 38 Premier League appearances – Gibson is also comfortable in possession and completed 17 of the 18 take-ons he attempted.

That is a trait that will have impressed Pochettino, who likes his defenders to have a good ability with the ball.

Would Spurs pay £30m for him?

Spurs have always been a club that look to get value for money, and it is hard to see them splashing out £30m on a player that has just been relegated from the Premier League.

That said, it is exactly what they did less than a year ago when they signed Moussa Sissoko from Newcastle United, and if they see Gibson as a long-term fixture in the backline then they could be willing to go that extra mile for the 24-year-old.

What’s the verdict, then?

Well, while it would be no surprise if Tottenham were interested in Gibson, it is hard to see them paying the £30m asking price considering Harry Maguire has just left Hull City to join Leicester City in a £17m deal.

If a deal could be done for a lower fee, it could happen though.