MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 14, 2016: Middlesbrough's Ben Gibson in action against Liverpool's Divock Origi during the FA Premier League match at the Riverside Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rumour Mill: Ben Gibson ‘top of Jurgen Klopp’s list’ after failure to land Virgil van Dijk

After failing to sign Virgil van Dijk from Southampton, new media reports suggest Jurgen Klopp has earmarked Middlesbrough‘s Ben Gibson instead.

Monday morning’s media rumours have been quick to stir up and rehash old news, and one which might be discounted as such is the Reds’ apparent interest in relegated defender Gibson.

The Boro centre-back enjoyed a good 2016/17 campaign on an individual level, performing consistently and earning an England call-up late in the season, but his side dropped back to the Championship after finishing 19th.

Now, Yorkshire-based outlet the Star reports that manager Klopp has made Gibson his first priority in defence, after the move for van Dijk fell through.

A £20 million pricetag has been put on the 24-year-old Boro man, with new Riverside manager Garry Monk being told he can choose who stays and goes as the club don’t need to sell.

Tottenham and Leicester City are also reportedly interested in Gibson.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 21, 2017: Liverpool's Dejan Lovren in action against Middlesbrough during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Statistically, he was comparable with current Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren in the Premier League last term: 0.8 tackles per game, 1.5 interceptions and 6.2 clearances for Gibson, while the Reds’ No. 6 tallied 1.4, 1.6 and 6.3 in those areas respectively.

While the Reds are almost certainly going to be bringing in a new defender this summer, it’s anyone’s guess as to who might come in with van Dijk still thought to be an option in some quarters.

Elsewhere, Stefan de Vrij has been linked, while Kalidou Koulibaly and Michael Keane have also previously been mentioned as potential signings.

[Stats via WhoScored.]

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