Liverpool to use legend to swing summer deal for in-demand PL ace - report
By Matt Farr
Liverpool are hoping to use Middlesbrough legend Jonathan Woodgate to their advantage in their pursuit of defender Ben Gibson, according to a report.
The Sun claim that Liverpool are one of several top Premier League sides considering a summer move for Gibson, who is rated at £25million by Middlesbrough.
Gibson, 24, is one of the hottest properties in the English market at the moment, following a series of impressive defensive displays for Middlesbrough this season.
He is part of a Middlesbrough defence that boasts the sixth best defensive record in the Premier League, despite sitting second from bottom.
The Middlesbrough academy product has also earned a maiden call up to the England senior squad ahead of their World Cup qualifier with Lithuania on Sunday.
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But Liverpool hope that they can win the race for the highly-rated defender in the summer, and are looking to use ex-Boro man Woodgate to swing the deal in their favour.
Woodgate first moved to Middlesbrough on loan from Real Madrid in 2006, before later returning to his hometown club for two further spells. He is now a scout at Liverpool.
The pair spent several years playing together at Riverside, which gives Liverpool hope that Woodgate can persuade his friend to opt for the Reds this summer.
Football Insider verdict
Alongside Michael Keane, Ben Gibson is one of the best of the next generation of England defenders. He has continued to impress despite Middlesbrough’s ongoing woes, and it is only a matter of time before he makes the switch to a top Premier League club. However, Middlesbrough will be determined to keep hold of him for the long term, even if they fail to beat the drop, and will make it difficult for Liverpool – or anyone – to sign him this summer. But Woodgate’s presence in the Anfield camp does give Liverpool somewhat of an advantage over their rivals, with the Reds one of the better fits for Gibson. He would likely be starved of regular action at Chelsea, while Liverpool are in dire need of a reliable centre-half.
In other Liverpool transfer news, the club have entered a three-horse race for this £13million-rated defender.