Chelsea line up Premier League defender as Terry successor

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Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson has emerged as a key target for Chelsea as they bid to find a long-term replacement for John Terry.

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Stamford Bridge stalwart Terry is coming to the end of his time at the club, and has lost his place in the Italian’s starting lineup to summer addition David Luiz. With his lack of game-time an issue for the player, a move to Bournemouth is reportedly on the cards as he seeks to end his career on a high.

As such, attention from a Chelsea perspective has now turned to finding his successor in west London, and Middlesbrough centre-back Gibson is the surprise name at the front of the queue, according to claims in today’s media.

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The Daily Mirror writes that the Premier League leaders’ transfer committee, headed by technical director Michael Emenalo, view the 23-year-old Boro as an ideal like-for-like replacement for club captain Terry, and remain intent on getting their man despite already seeing one bid rejected by Aitor Karanka’s men.

One of the pillars of the Middlesbrough defence, the homegrown talent is the nephew of club chairman Steve Gibson and is understood to be valued at in excess of £30m by his uncle. At this stage in the season, the north-east side’s concern is on avoiding the drop, and consequently, it would take a monumental bid from Chelsea to convince them to sell during the January window.

Addressing the rumour during a press-conference on Thursday morning, Boro boss Karanka heaped praise on the youngster, but also sought to dampen speculation surrounding a big-money transfer.

“Ben Gibson is playing well has a lot of potential, and a lot of people are talking about him,” Karanka said. “He has to keep focused on his football.

“Top teams and the national team are speaking about him but the main thing is he thinks about the next game. If he thinks about other things he’s making a big mistake.”

Gibson has been capped 10 times by England Under-21s and has also been linked with a switch to Everton.

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