West Brom interest in Ben Gibson firms up but need Middlesbrough to reduce £30m asking price

John Percy
West Bromwich Albion are very interested in signing Middlesbrough's Ben Gibson but are balking at the £30m asking price - Rex Features

Tony Pulis is targeting a summer move for Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson but is reluctant to pay the £30 million asking price.

Pulis has identified Gibson as a potential key signing as he prepares to strengthen his West Bromwich Albion squad, with the England Under-21 international poised to leave the Riverside Stadium if the club are relegated.

However, Middlesbrough will demand at least £30 million for the centre-half, a fee that is cooling interest from other clubs, including champions Leicester City.

Albion’s current transfer record is the £13 million they paid Tottenham Hotspur for Nacer Chadli in August. The Hawthorns hierarchy believe the fee for Gibson is steep.

Gareth Southgate recently called Gibson up to the senior England squad, with the player having enhanced his reputation in the Premier League despite Boro’s battle to avoid returning to the Championship.

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The nephew of club chairman Steve Gibson, the 24-year-old’s price would appear to be in keeping with the valuation of other young English talents including Burnley centre-half Michael Keane.

Pulis will fly out to China at the end of the season to hold talks with owner Guochuan Lai, where he is expected to discover the size of his transfer budget for the summer.

He said: “It’s about getting the right players and we have a situation at this club where we want to stay solvent.

“We want to run it professionally so it’s not just about throwing money down an empty hole. A lot of clubs have done that and not been very successful.

“You have to be careful with the money that you’re given. There will be a lot of activity everywhere and we’re just hoping that we can sail under all the steam that’s flying around and pick one or two good players out.” 

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