Everton and West Ham are in the hunt to sign Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, according to a reliable journalist.

Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie claimed on his personal Twitter account on Friday that Leicester are also monitoring Boro captain Gibson, 25, ahead of the summer transfer window.

It is understood that Boro’s league status for next season could be decisive in whether the centre-back quits the Riverside over the summer as promotion back to the Premier League is still a major possibility for Tony Pulis’ men.

Middlesbrough are currently fifth in the Championship standings and could earn promotion via the play-offs.

Gibson has been a mainstay of the club’s campaign, appearing 47 times across all competitions and scoring one goal.

The left-footed powerhouse, who is known for his physical presence, can also play at left-back if needed.

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Football Insider verdict

It’s a surprise that Gibson did not quit Middlesbrough in the summer after the club were relegated from the Premier League. However, fair play to him, he showed his loyalty and could play a role in helping Boro back to the top-flight. Gibson is a centre-back with Premier League quality and Everton and West Ham would do well to get hold of him in the summer. Both sides need to strengthen their defence but there’s a chance that Boro will demand a big fee as Gibson is someone who is tipped to earn an England cap one day and that will probably bump up his price-tag.

In other Everton news, fans are gutted after this Toffees forward dropped a major hint that he will leave Goodison.

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