Liverpool are reported to have set their sights on Middlesbrough centre-back Ben Gibson, less than 24 hours after his call-up to the England squad.
Gibson replaced the injured Chris Smalling for the Three Lions’ World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley Stadium, as recognition for his excellent form in 2016/17.
This has seemingly not gone unnoticed in the transfer market, with the Mail claiming four clubs are chasing Gibson’s signature this summer.
However, Middlesbrough are said to be looking for at least £25 million to part ways with their defensive stalwart.
Gibson’s connection with Jonathan Woodgate, who now serves as a scout for Liverpool, could prove pivotal.
The duo are said to have formed a “close bond,” and the ex-Middlesbrough centre-back will no doubt have served up a glowing appraisal of his successor at the Riverside.
Gibson is a left-footed defender who is hugely comfortable with the ball at his feet, and would be a strong addition to Klopp’s ranks at the back.
He is not the only England centre-back said to be on Liverpool’s radar for the summer, with Burnley‘s Michael Keane also reported to be a possible target.
Unlike the aforementioned quartet, however, Gibson does seem to be a more viable option given his natural tendency to play on the left.
Joel Matip is already installed as Klopp’s first choice on the right of Liverpool’s centre-back pairing, and finding a long-term partner for the Cameroonian seems to be a priority.
Gibson is not at the level of Van Dijk, however, and would remain something of a work in progress if he made the switch to Anfield.
One thing is clear, however, in that Klopp is seeking to add another centre-back to his squad, and this could well be due to the imminent departure of Lucas Leiva.