Report: Southampton earmark Ben Gibson as Virgil van Dijk replacement

Saints seek Gibson as Van Dijk replacement?
© SilverHub
Southampton are reportedly interested in Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson as a potential replacement for wantaway centre-back Virgil van Dijk.

Southampton have earmarked Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson as a potential replacement for wantaway centre-back Virgil van Dijk, according to reports.

The Dutchman lodged an official transfer request this week and released a lengthy statement on Monday confirming his desire to move on from St Mary's Stadium, while also denying suggestions that he has refused to train.

Although the Saints are reportedly continuing to play hardball over Van Dijk, The Sun claims that they are nonetheless making contingency plans to replace the talented defender.

The report suggests that Gibson, one of Boro's shining lights in the Premier League last season, is deemed a suitable replacement for the Netherlands international.

However, it is also believed that the Teessiders do not want to sell the 24-year-old, but could be persuaded into doing a deal if a bid of at least £30m comes in.

West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have also been credited with an interest in Gibson, while Liverpool are believed to be frontrunners for Van Dijk's services.

Ben Gibson of Middlesbrough in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Middlesbrough at St Andrews Stadium on December 07, 2013
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