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Leeds were interested in 27-year-old Burnley star – Should Bielsa go back for the player?

Why Leeds United must make a move for Burnley’s Ben Gibson

Back in July 2019, The Northern Echo had claimed that Leeds United were interested in signing Burnley centre-back Ben Gibson. However, no deal materialised and he stayed put at Turf Moor.

Ben Gibson, 27, joined Burnley in the summer of 2018 from Middlesbrough but struggled in his debut campaign at Turf Moor, making just one Premier League appearance. Injuries have beset his stay and he hasn’t played even once in the league this season.

Ben Gibson of Burnley in action during the UEFA Europa League third round qualifier second leg between Burnley and Istanbul Basaksehir at Turf Moor on August 16, 2018 in Burnley, England. (Getty Images)
Ben Gibson of Burnley in action during the UEFA Europa League third round qualifier second leg between Burnley and Istanbul Basaksehir at Turf Moor on August 16, 2018 in Burnley, England. (Getty Images)

In fact, the defender is currently training with his former club Middlesbrough as relations between him and the Burnley management strained. (h/t The Daily Mirror)

The defender, who is still under contract at Burnley until 2022, has been limited to one game this season in the EFL Cup back in August against Sunderland. With Gibson having royally struggled to make his name during his difficult 18 months at Burnley, Leeds United must rekindle their interest in him during the summer transfer window.

Leeds United have enjoyed an excellent campaign in the Championship thus far as they sit at the top of the Sky Bet Championship with just nine games left to play. They are a point ahead of second-placed West Brom and seven clear of Fulham, who sit just outside of those automatic promotion places.

Ben Gibson during his time with Middlesbrough. (Getty Images)
Ben Gibson during his time with Middlesbrough. (Getty Images)

Should the Whites achieve direct promotion, it would their first season back in England’s top tier for 16 years. There is a massive difference between competing in the Championship and the Premier League and Marcelo Bielsa will need to recruit quality players to sustain the demands of the top tier. One key area that needs to be addressed is the defensive unit.

The Peacocks have only three central defenders in their ranks in Ben White, skipper Liam Cooper and Gaetano Berardi. White, who has been excellent throughout the campaign having played every minute for Leeds, is on loan from Brighton and will leave at the end of the season. And Berardi’s contract at Elland Road is up at the end of the season.

Thus, it’s a no-brainer for Bielsa to bring in defensive reinforcements before the start of the new campaign. And Ben Gibson would be a fantastic fit at Elland Road.

Gibson received an England call-up from Gareth Southgate in 2017, but his career has stalled at Turf Moor. In total, he has made just six appearances in all competitions for the Clarets in one-and-a-half seasons and the move to Turf Moor has been nothing short of a disaster.

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa on the touchline. (Getty Images)
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa on the touchline. (Getty Images)

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Yet, the 27-year-old is a quality defender who has proven himself in the Championship. He made 165 appearances for Middlesbrough in the Championship and impressed in their Premier League campaign in 2016/17 during which he did not miss a single league game. Gibson has solid experience in English football, so he shouldn’t be a risky acquisition for Leeds.

Verdict

Leeds’ numbers at the back clearly indicate the need for a defender before the start of 2020/21 campaign. Therefore, they must plot a summer swoop for Gibson.

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