Southampton move for Ben Gibson to replace Liverpool bound Virgil van Dijk
Southampton have stepped up their interest in Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, according to The Sun.
The Saints are keen to sign the England international after captain Virgil van Dijk submitted a transfer request yesterday. The Dutchman is expected to complete his transfer to Liverpool, which collapsed earlier this summer when the Saints accused the Merseysiders of making an illegal approach.
With Van Dijk already training away from the rest of Mauricio Pellegrino’s squad, the south-coast club may have little option to cash-in on their skipper for a fee of between £50m and £60m.
Gibson, aged 24, is earmarked as his replacement. Boro, who were relegated from the Premier League last season and started their Championship campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers last Saturday, are keen to keep hold of their prize asset but might be convinced to sell if they receive a bid of £30m.
Gibson came through the ranks at Boro, who are owned by his uncle Steve. But Southampton are hopeful of luring him to St Mary’s with the offer of top-flight football and the chance to push for a place in England’s 2018 World Cup squad.