Ben Gibson And The Deadline Day Story No-One Is Talking About

Ben Gibson And The Deadline Day Story No-One Is Talking About
Sep 7, 2017

Championship Featured Middlesborough

This summer’s transfer window feels like it was a game-changer. The levels of excess and greed in the game truly entered a whole new stratosphere. Absurd amounts of money have been thrown around, and early summer signings like the £75m spent on Romelu Lukaku were made to look like a steal by the end of August.

There were also many bitter and churlish displays of behaviour from certain players who didn’t get the moves they desired, Philippe Coutinho being one.

There was one player who countered all of this. Despite being the Championships’ biggest spenders, shelling out a club record fee for Britt Assombalonga and signing 9 other players, Middlesbrough Football Club’s best bit of business this summer was retaining their captain, Ben Gibson.

The 24-year-old had an outstanding campaign in 2016/17, helping his side, despite their relegation, to the 10th best defence in the league, and earned himself a call to the England squad for the World Cup Qualifier against Lithuania. Middlesbrough are quite secretive about goings on behind the scenes these days, but rumours surrounding Gibson’s move from Teesside have been circulating since the day Middlesbrough were relegated last May.

Middlesbrough’s phone was seemingly ringing non-stop all summer, as Gibson was linked for huge sums to Manchester City, West Brom, Southampton, Liverpool and Arsenal at various points during the off-season. But when 11:00pm hit on 31st of August, Gibson remained a Boro player.

The club reportedly set a transfer limit of £30m. If this was met, maybe Gibson would have been on his way. It’s unclear exactly how much Gibson coveted a move, but one thing is for certain, unlike the very public sulking and brooding of Sánchez, Coutinho, Costa, Van Dijk, etc. Gibson never publicly demanded a move.

Here is a player in his prime, capable of playing at the highest level, dropping down a division in a World Cup year (Southgate doesn’t appear to be interested in Gibson while he plays in the Championship, which, if true, would be a disgrace). Nobody could have blamed him if he came out and expressed a desire to move on. In fact, in the modern era, it seems almost bizarre he didn’t.

Gibson is a local Teessider who came up through Middlesbrough’s youth ranks and is the nephew of the club’s beloved chairman Steve Gibson. So let’s be clear, Gibson loves the Boro. But by staying he has unquestionably turned down far higher earnings from the Premier League clubs.

The loyalty and integrity Gibson showed this summer is something that is scarcely seen in modern football. Watching Gibson give his all for his hometown club this season, is to see a player truly detached from the feverish, money obsessed culture of modern football.

Boro’s phone will be off the hook again in January, and he may well depart. But right now he is a gleaming example to all young footballers on the right way to act amongst the madness of the transfer window. Boro fans should cherish every minute he continues to wear their shirt.

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