A local paper for Middlesbrough - the Hartlepool Mail - has linked Boro’s center-back Ben Gibson with a switch to either Everton or Southampton.
First of all, the fact that Everton are linked to a player alongside Southampton, a team on a downward trajectory that is lucky to even still be in the Premier League, is the first red flag for me.
The second one is that Ben Gibson is 25 years old and has spent very little time in the Premier League. If he was good enough for a club of Everton’s aspirations, why didn’t he get picked up when his club went back down to the Championship?
Now, if there’s going to be any push-back on this, it’ll be because of the fact that Ben Gibson has been called up to have front row seats to Three Lions games as a member of the bench. For some fans of English football, that call up is just magical. If you can get called up to the constantly underachieving utterly mismanaged and perpetually overrated English national team, your street cred in the EFL is apparently sealed.
I don’t buy it. I like that Gibson completes 70% of his tackles at the Championship level, I like even better that he completed 80% of them in the EPL, he’s decent in the air, and serviceable passing the ball. I just don’t think he’s a starter.
If Everton was looking to buy a fourth CB and he was at a decent price I’d love to have him, but that’s not what we need. We need a starter to go alongside Michael Keane that isn’t 35 years old. (I love Jags but we gotta be realistic here at some point.)
If the statement of intent of Everton is that we are going to chase down the top six and eventually be that type of club in the next 4-5 years, Ben Gibson isn’t the CB signing to get us there. I think we can do better.