Middlesbrough’s relegation to the Championship has opened up debate on what the future holds for some of its stand-out performers. Last week, rumours regarding a Ben Gibson move to Liverpool seemed sketchy at best, but buzz is apparently starting to build around the centre-back, to the point of insistent denial on Boro’s part.
The Mirror reports that, despite Liverpool’s interest, Middlesbrough’s new manager, Garry Monk, is keen to keep Gibson on the squad that he’s hoping to make a Premier League comeback with.
"Ben is one of a number of players here who are integral to the squad, integral to making that step back,” Monk said earlier this week. “[He] is obviously a big focal point of the team. I’ve watched him over the last couple of seasons, and I’m well aware of him and what he can bring to the team.
“It’s important that you keep your best players, and important you’re able to keep a core together and give yourself the best possible opportunity of reaching the club’s ambition, which is to go back to the Premier League.”
Gibson, the nephew of Middlesbrough’s current chairman, had stated his desire to remain at Boro immediately after the season ended. However, he’s since refused to comment on any transfer rumours, saying his current focus is on his English national team debut.
If Liverpool are indeed interested in Gibson, it sounds like they’re going to have to make Boro an offer they can’t refuse. But given that Gibson is definitely not the Reds’ first choice (if he is a choice at all), it seems hard to believe that Klopp will fight hard to make this work.