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Middlesbrough U20 World Cup-winner latest English center half in demand by Chelsea, Manchester United, everyone else

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Fulham v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images

For the last couple years, Middlesbrough center back Ben Gibson was one of the more frequent names in the rumor mill, linked constantly with moves to the Premier League’s elite. But while others in similar situations — Michael Keane for example — did eventually earn big-money moves, Gibson has remained with Boro. And since he’s about to turn 25, he’s no longer a new young exciting thing. The rumor mill needs fresh meat, so enter Gibson’s teammate Dael Fry.

The 20-year-old has established himself as first-choice under Garry Monk as Boro attempt to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season. Currently 11th, Boro are showing the same issues as last season (lack of scoring), but at least they do keep it tight at the back with the division’s third best defensive record. So that probably speaks well to Fry’s abilities, as does his semi-starring role over the summer as England won the U20 World Cup — he started three of the seven games and has since graduated to the U21 squad.

The Mail claim that Chelsea and Manchester United, as well as Everton and Leicester City are all ‘monitoring’ the youngster. Which basically means nothing at all this stage but it’s the international break and this is the best we’ve got.

It should be noted that Chelsea could certainly use a few more homegrown players though Andreas Christensen and Jake Clarke-Salter could easily satisfy those vacancies for many years to come as well.