Everton may look to Middlesbrough star to soften Stones exit

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With John Stones looking increasingly likely to exit Everton for a Premier League rival, the Merseyside club reportedly have their eye on replacing him with highly-rated Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson.

The nephew of Boro chairman Steve Gibson, the 23-year-old has come through the youth ranks at the Riverside, and established himself as robust, reliable and versatile performer for both Middlesbrough and England U21s.

Equally comfortable at centre-back and left-back, Gibson’s versatility has supposedly sparked the interest of Toffees boss Roberto Martinez, with the Nunthorpe native 9/2 to head to Goodison Park this summer.

Even if Gibson fails to win promotion with Boro this season, there are plenty of clubs believed to be interested in offering Premier League football to the man who also impressed during loan spells at York City and Tranmere Rovers.

Eddie Howe is 7/1 to make Gibson the next young English star on Bournemouth’s roster, while Arsenal are 9/1 to add the FA Trophy winner to their ranks.

Mark Hughes may look to rectify the leakiest defence in the Premier League’s top half this summer, but Gibson looks unlikely to make his transfer list, with a move to the Potteries 14/1.

Southampton are also 14s to convince the promising defender to swap the red-and-white of Boro for that of the Saints.

The two favourites for his signature face off on Saturday, as Everton welcome Bournemouth to the north-west. The Toffees are 10/11 to win, with the 11/4 Cherries looking the best value, following five wins in their last eight away trips.

Boro, meanwhile, are 11/20 to win their crunch promotion clash at Birmingham on Friday night.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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