Chelsea to go to war with Tottenham over £25m-rated ace, Conte is huge admirer - report
By Harry Sykes
Chelsea will battle with Tottenham this summer for the signature of Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, according to a report.
The Sun claim the Premier League’s top two sides have both identified the 24-year-old as a firm target ahead of the next window.
It is said that Chelsea are “ready to go to war” with Spurs for Gibson, with manager Antonio Conte “a big admirer” of him.
Tottenham are also keeping close tabs on the centre-back, who has made a big impression for Boro in his first top-flight campaign even though they appear set for relegation back to the Championship.
Gibson was rewarded with his first England cap as a late replacement for Chris Smalling in the recent 2-0 World Cup qualifier win against Lithuania.
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Interest in Gibson from the two London clubs comes at a time when they have the stingiest defences in the Premier League.
Tottenham have conceded just 22 goals from 30 matches in the competition this season, while Chelsea have let in just 24 in the same number of games.
But both clubs have used a 3-4-3 formation with great success in recent months, and are looking for a centre-back to bolster their already formidable ranks.
The transfer battle over Gibson, who the Sun report is valued at £25million, is especially intriguing given the antipathy between the two clubs.
Boardroom relations are historically hostile, while they are also embroiled in a title race in which leaders Chelsea currently have a seven-point advantage.
In other Tottenham news, the London giants have won the race to sign a 32-goal striker who has taken the league by storm.