Manchester City are on the verge of ending their pursuit for West Brom defender Jonny Evans according to reports.
Pep Guardiola will instead divert his attention to Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson if they fail to land the Irishman.
Gibson has been identified as Guardiola’s back up plan and City are prepared to launch a £20million bid to secure him, according to the Independent.
The Man City boss has been on the lookout for a new centre-back this summer to bolster his defence and provide options, especially if Vincent Kompany struggles to stay healthy .
But it appears that City will finally admit defeat in their efforts to bring former Man United star Evans to the Etihad after a rejected £18m bid for the player who’s price tag has now spiralled to £35m.
Gibson is seen as the best alternative for Evans and brings the added bonus of being an a British player which will help Guardiola’s squad conform to the Premier Leagues rules on having eight homegrown players.
The 24-year-old already has Premier League experience having made 38 league appearances for Middlesbrough in the top-tier last season before their relegation.
However they may also have a difficult time prying Gibson away from his current team too, especially as his uncle is the chairman at the Teesside club.
But with the World Cup fast approaching, a return to Premiership football will put him in good stead for making his way into his Gareth Southgate’s final squad after earning his first call-up in a qualifier match in March.
City aren’t the only Premiership side to show interest in Gibson, Chelsea have kept a close eye on the English international and ironically so have West Brom.
He has been high on Tony Pulis’ wish list this summer and have already had two bids with offers up to £20m knocked back.