Chelsea told to splash out £35m by Premier League rivals on top defensive target

Chelsea will reportedly have to pay up to £35m in order to prise Ben Gibson away from Middlesbrough, although the club have no intention of selling in January.

According to The Mirror, both the Premier League leaders and Everton are plotting a move for the 23-year-old, with the former particularly keen on adding defensive reinforcements.

However, despite the fact that Antonio Conte and his scouts have been monitoring Gibson and have been impressed with what they’ve seen, Boro remain resolute in that they are not interested in selling him in the New Year.

Nevertheless, while they will undoubtedly want to keep him until the end of the season to help in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League, they will have to be prepared for offers and intensified interest during the January transfer window.

Chelsea are currently on an eight-game winning streak in the league and have conceded just two goals in that run. Conte is still keen to strengthen where possible though, and the defence has been a priority for the Italian tactician since he arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer.

With John Terry entering the latter stages of his career and with Branislav Ivanovic’s contract expiring at the end of the season, there will have to be a shift in the Chelsea defence sooner rather than later.

It’s added in the report that Conte will be heavily backed in the transfer market over the next 12 months as Chelsea look to build a formidable squad that can compete for years to come.

Whether or not that recruitment drive continues with Gibson arriving in January remains to be seen, but based on the Mirror’s claim, he certainly won’t be available for cheap if Boro are persuaded to sell.

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