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Middlesbrough set £35m asking price for Chelsea transfer target — report

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Earlier this season, when the Blue flags were flying just a tad bit lower than they are these days, rumors were that Abramovich, the Chelsea Board, and Conte would be working double-time to start another massive rebuild at Chelsea, selling off the broken toys of the 2014-15 season and getting the latest and greatest from the shop windows around England, Europe, and the rest of the world.  For his part, Conte said that while that was all well and good, the more important task was to figure out what to do with our current, already overflowing basket of toys.  While he claimed he had no magic solution, it would appear that he in fact did.

But, Silly Season is still Silly Season and despite the eight-game winning streak, Chelsea could probably use a few key signings — certainly in the summer, but perhaps in January already.  One area of improvement is in defense, where options beyond the 3-5 starters are lacking.  A homegrown option to add depth and quality could very well be Middlesbrough's Ben Gibson, who acquitted himself quite well in what many were calling his "audition" against Chelsea a couple weeks ago.  Trouble is of course that Boro have no reason to sell the 23-year-old big man who's signed through 2021 and who just so happens to be the owner's nephew, and thus can name their own price.  According to the Mirror, the number they've come up with is £35m.

So basically, they're telling us to buzz off.

Fair enough.

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