It appears almost certain that John Terry will leave Chelsea this summer. The club captain will not be replaced easily, but already the Blues are being linked with possible successors.
Attention is currently being drawn to Middlesbrough, specifically to defender Ben Gibson. The 23-year-old has impressed this season and, as reported by The Mirror, is highly thought of at Chelsea. Given his age and promise, Gibson would serve as a long-term replacement for Terry, but will likely attract wide interest come the summer.
Such interest will likely inflate his price, and already a figure of £30 million is being suggested for the move. Chelsea, however, fresh from their £60 million payday upon Oscar’s departure to China, appear well equipped to meet such a fee.
Gibson joined Boro in 2011 and inked a new contract at the Riverside just last summer, intended to keep him at the club for the next four and a half years. Such a timeframe appears fanciful in the wake of such interest though.
Chelsea supporters may protest such a move, as they can rightly point to Kurt Zouma’s recovery from injury and Nathan Ake’s return from Bournemouth. Both players, particularly the latter, offer Antonio Conte tremendous flexibility and would appear to provide adequate cover defensively.
Both, however, are untested at the top level of the Premier League given Ake has impressed merely at Bournemouth (no disrespect intended) while Zouma is yet to prove if he can scale the heights he was accustomed to before his anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena