By support

11th Jun, 2017 | 7:20am

Liverpool turn attention to £20m-rated defender after dropping Van Dijk chase - report

By Derek Smithson

Liverpool are interested in signing Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, according to a report.

The Sun claim that the Reds are eyeing the 24-year-old after dropping their interest in Southampton ace Virgil van Dijk, following alleged tapping-up.

It is understood that Jurgen Klopp wants to bolster his backline ahead of next season and is looking at Boro centre-back Gibson, who will cost at least £20million to prize away from the Riverside.

The report details that Tottenham, West Brom and Leicester are also keen on the defender that suffered relegation from the top flight last season.

Gibson was one of Boro’s outstanding players during their disappointing season and it has earned him a senior call-up to the England squad.

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He is yet to earn his first international cap, but is a member of Gareth Southgate’s squad and could get a chance in an friendly against France on Tuesday.

Last season was Gibson’s first in the Premier League and he played every single minute of the campaign.

The stand-in captain was an ever-present in the backline and was praised for his quality in possession, physical presence and leadership.

Football Insider verdict:

Liverpool could do with a new centre-back ahead of next season to take charge of their vulnerable defence. Southampton ace Van Dijk would have been the perfect candidate to do so, but it appears they must look elsewhere. Gibson showed last year that he is certainly top flight quality and performed in a struggling side. The 24-year-old’s international call-up shows he seems destined to remain in the Premier League and he should be keen to build on a good individual first year in the top flight. However, a move to Anfield would be a considerable step up in class and he would have huge responsibility. The £20million price tag would also bring its own pressure and would be a major risk.

In other Liverpool transfer news, John Arne Riise believes that the club should sell their 27-year-old attacker.

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