Baggies chief reveals admiration for £25m-rated defender but admits it will be ‘very hard’ to secure Boro ace
TONY PULIS is refusing to give up on signing Ben Gibson – but admits it will be “very hard” for West Brom to sign the Middlesbrough star.
The Baggies have already had at least three bids rejected for the defender this summer, with the latest believed to be £18million.
While Pulis admitted he does have other players in mind, the 24-year-old remains his top target.
But Boro will not allow Gibson, who is currently recovering from a broken nose picked up against Rochdale last weekend, to leave on the cheap.
Having seen fellow English centre-halves Michael Keane and Harry Maguire move for big bucks this summer, the relegated North East outfit will only sell for a top fee.
There is no pressure on Boro manager Garry Monk to offload Gibson, despite spending £35m, as he targets an immediate return to the Premier League.
And reports emerged yesterday that the club are preparing to offer him a lucrative new contract.
However, Pulis remains hopeful a deal can still be struck before the start of the new season.
The West Brom chief told Sky Sports: “Ben is a smashing player and I am sure Middlesbrough will want to keep him.
“They’ll be looking to get promoted again and you can understand why they do not want to get rid of Ben.
“We have had enquiries for Ben and we’ve had enquiries for other players as well.
“We’ll see how those enquiries go, but I think it’s going to be very hard to get Ben out of Middlesbrough.”
Gibson was an ever-present for Boro in the top-flight last season.
His performances led to him being called up to the England squad twice.
Ben Gibson – The Boro boy Tony Pulis desperately wants to lead West Brom’s defence
- Ben Gibson was born in Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough on January 15 1993
- He is the nephew of Boro chairman Steve Gibson
- Gibson learnt his trade in the lower leagues with loan spells at Plymouth, York and Tranmere
- He made his Boro debut against Coventry in April 2011 and has played over 150 games since
- After losing in the play-off final the previous season, Gibson played a key role in helping Middlesbrough to win promotion from the Championship in 2016
- Gibson appeared in all 38 Premier League matches for Boro as they were relegated last season
- He has represented England at U17, U18, U20 and U21 level and received his first senior call-up in March
Gibson is not believed to be in any great rush to leave.
However, few fans would begrudge the hometown hero the chance to stake a claim for a World Cup spot by leaving The Riverside for a top-flight club.
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