While Lazio’s Stefan De Vrij remains high on Chelsea’s list of priority signings, the Blues have also identified Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson as a surprise alternative, according to The Mirror.
Having failed to recruit Netherlands international De Vrij in the summer, the Stamford Bridge outfit eventually plumped for the £32 million return of David Luiz but the club are still on the hunt for John Terry’s long-term successor.
In Ben Gibson, the the 23-year-old centre back has played every minute of Middlesbrough’s Premier League campaign so far and was also a key member of Aitor Karanka’s squad that achieved promotion from the Championship last season.
Winning 10 England Under-21 international caps between 2014 and 2015, 6 ft 1 in Gibson would probably be more of an attainable target with the Blues having also been priced out of a move for Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer.
Priority target De Vrij is rated at around £15 million but having failed to recruit him thus far, you can see why Antonio Conte is starting to line up plan B alternatives should that pursuit end in failure.