Why Everton shouldn’t let Lewis Gibson leave amidst Newcastle links
The 19-year-old centre-back, who rose through the youth ranks at St. James’ Park and featured for the Magpies at U-18 and U-23 levels earlier in his career, left his boyhood club to join Everton for a fee of £6 million back in 2017 after making a complaint concerning former U-23 manager Peter Beardsley. (h/t Daily Mail)
Newcastle stood by their coach back then but he was sacked soon after on grounds of gross misconduct, with the club hierarchy finding him guilty of racially abusing African players in the academy. (h/t Daily Mail)
Now, as per the report, current head-coach Steve Bruce wants to bring the highly-rated defender back to Tyneside following the departure of Beardsley, with the Magpies keen to bolster their defensive ranks moving forward in the ongoing campaign.
Bruce’s interest in a new defender has been well-documented in recent times, given that Newcastle have been linked with moves for Championship hotshots Ben Davies and Joe Worrall ahead of the January transfer window. (h/t Sun)
Gibson hasn’t managed to break into the senior ranks at Merseyside following his 2017 move from Tyneside but he has featured regularly for the Toffees at the U-23 level in the Premier League 2 and continues to be held in high regard by the club’s youth staff.
The England U-20 international has been tipped for a first-team call-up due to the ongoing defensive crisis at the club, although Marco Silva has made it clear that the prospect is not yet ready to play a part in the Premier League. (h/t Liverpool Echo)
However, with the 19-year-old out of contract at the end of the ongoing campaign, Gibson’s situation at Everton has apparently put the Magpies on red alert. He is yet to be offered a new deal and if reports are to be believed, the talented starlet might be on his way back to his boyhood club in the near future.
To put things into perspective, Newcastle’s interest in Lewis Gibson makes perfect sense, with Bruce currently on the lookout for an up and coming defender as a part of the club’s long-term plans, and the youngster’s familiarity with the setup is likely to work in favour of a move materializing.
Everton, though, should think twice before letting him go, keeping in mind their ongoing travails stemming from lack of quality depth options at the back.
The Toffees were always going to be light in the centre-back department after parting ways with Phil Jagielka and failing to bring loanee Kurt Zouma back to the club on a permanent deal and the result is in front of everyone’s eyes.
With the centre-back pairing of Yerry Mina and Michael Keane repeatedly letting the team down with their defensive ineptitude and young Mason Holgate the only feasible alternative available in the ranks, it is hardly surprising that Everton have struggled to cope with their problems at the back.
To that end, bringing in a new centre-back in January should be a top priority for the Toffees but they should not hesitate to turn their attention to some of the standout academy starlets in a bid to find an answer to such a crisis.
Lewis Gibson, who already has a wealth of U-23 experience under his belt, is essentially the fourth-choice centre-back at Merseyside behind the likes of Keane, Mina and Holgate and Silva should consider giving him a fair crack of the whip to allow him to prove his credentials.
Given that he is still in his formative years as a footballer and really very young for a centre-back, Gibson needs to be eased into the first-team fold at Goodison Park.
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The process of transition to the senior ranks from the academy level is never so straightforward, especially for a centre-back, and Everton need to hold their patience.
With that in mind, the Toffees should offer Gibson a new deal in a bid to ward off interest from Newcastle, as the 19-year-old is a player with a big future and losing him at this stage after putting all the hard work behind his development would only be a step backwards.