Ben Gibson

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Five X-factor Premier League summer signings

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They’ll make differences in their teams for very different reasons.

If the following five players have big seasons, they are talented enough to push their teams multiple spots up the table.

Some could be focal points, while others valuable substitutes but one thing is for sure: their signings slid under the radar given their respective abilities (or in one Fulham man’s case, the lateness of the hour).

[ MORE: 2018-19 PL season preview hub ]  

5. Max Meyer, Crystal Palace — The 22-year-old’s progression has been infuriating at Schalke, and Palace getting him on a free transfer is a fine risk. Is he the player who scored six Bundesliga goals in 1800 minutes as a teenager, and posted 5G-6A in 2015-16, or the one whose most starts in a single season is 27?

4. Ben Gibson, Burnley — Gibson was very impressive for Middlesbrough in their relegation campaign, and he only shined his stock under defensive wizard Tony Pulis in the Championship. If Burnley makes the Europa League group stage, Gibson will be huge for Dyche.

3. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Fulham — Buying Jean Michael Seri was a coup for the midfield, but bringing in a fellow Frenchman to balance out the center of the park? Wow. The 22-year-old is a hard tackling, opportunistic machine who will disrupt the opposition and connect the defense to the forwards. Huge.

2. Xherdan Shaqiri, Liverpool — The ability to sub out a winger or midfielder with a player who, on his day, is as lethal as any shooter in the world? Not too bad, Mr. Klopp.

  1. Jack Wilshere, West Ham United — There’s no debating how important Wilshere was to Arsenal when heathy, and his cross-London move could make all the difference in the world as West Ham tries to get the ball to its finishers.

Burnley brings in Boro star; Reportedly matches transfer record

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Burnley doesn’t make too many mistakes in the transfer market, and their cautious approach looks to have paid dividends again.

Ben Gibson is coming to Turf Moor from Championship side Middlesbrough, one year removed after a strong Premier League debut in Boro’s relegation season.

WATCH LIVE: Transfer Deadline Day show, August 9 at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com

Burnley had been slow to add players as it seemingly waited to see if it would progress in the Europa League.

Now assured of more matches in Europe and a congested schedule, the Clarets have added another experienced, composed player who won’t be questioned over his ability to handle the top flight. And at 25, he’s a player who can either be a long-term hero or sold if his value continues to grow.

Gibson logged more than 4,200 minutes in the Championship last season, a season after playing every PL minute for Boro.

From BurnleyFootballClub.com:

“I’m absolutely delighted. It’s a big step for me. I’ve played for Middlesbrough for 15 years since I was a boy so it’s a huge step and one I’m really, really excited about,” Gibson told Clarets Player HD.

“I’ve been to the training ground and met a few of the boys and the place seems like it’s certainly a club that’s on the up and certainly a club to be excited about playing for.”

[ MORE: 2018-19 Premier League previews]

The BBC reported Saturday that Joe Hart was due for a medical as Burnley attempts to answer its long-term injury for star keeper Nick Pope.

If the Clarets add Hart, it’d be unwise to bet against their analysis. From Chris Wood and Robbie Brady to Jack Cork and Pope, their risks are usually well measured.

Transfer rumor roundup: Mahrez to Man City, Boro duo to PL

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As Manchester United reportedly triggers a release clause for a new right back, plenty of Premier League peers are seeking new players of their own.

Across Manchester, Pep Guardiola may’ve claimed City won’t be spending big this summer but that doesn’t man the champions won’t be splashing some cash.

[ MORE: UEFA name squad of the season ]

The Mail says Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, 27, will cost Man City around $100 million when all is said and done.

The champions are closing in on a deal for Leicester City winger Mahrez, with director of football Txiki Begiristain edging closer to agreeing terms. The structure of the fee to be paid to Leicester is still being negotiated.

Mahrez is under contract with Leicester through the 2019-20 season, and the club and player suffered through a Man City transfer saga in January. Is it going to go through now?

Middlesbrough could not find its way back to the Premier League during the playoffs, and now could lose two of its prominent players to top flight survivors.

Ben Gibson, 24, earned an England call-up during Boro’s last stint in the Premier League, but stayed with the club after relegation.

That may end this month, with Southampton and Everton pushing hard for the $33 million rated back.

Boro could also lose ex-Barcelona man Adama Traore, who also stuck with the Smoggies after relegation. Newcastle is said to want to keep the Spaniard in the Northeast for around $20 million.

WhoScored’s highest rated player in the Championship, Traore originally cost Aston Villa around $9 million from Barca before moving to Boro.

That $53 million could bring in enough fire power to battle Stoke, Swans, West Brom, and the legion of other Championship teams aiming for promotion.

Premier League 2016-17 season reviews: M(UFC) to W(est Ham)

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The 2016-17 Premier League season is now over and it is time to look back at how all 20 teams fared over the course of the campaign.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Below you will find the second half of the PL analyzed (Manchester United to West Ham United), with the first half ably handled by Joe Prince-Wright this morning.

Plus, click on the link above to follow all of ProSoccerTalk’s reviews of the 2016-17 season.

Let’s get to it.


Manchester United

Pogba (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Final position: 6th (Europa League group stage)
Star manPaul Pogba — It’s clear that he’ll never justify his price tag to some critics, but once he found his footing in late Fall there was no turning back for one of the most complete players in the world. Only David De Gea played more minutes for the Red Devils.
The Gaffer: Jose Mourinho — There were typical odd Mourinho moments, and his fixture congestion talk was tiresome, but all-in-all he navigated the Europa League all the way to the final despite an absurd rash of injuries to defenders and long absences for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Juan Mata, and Paul Pogba amongst others.
Mark out of 10: 6/10 – Sixth is no prize for Manchester United, but a win on Wednesday against Ajax may bump this mark up to 7 (perhaps 8 given the injuries).
Season summed up in a word: Patience.


Middlesbrough

Gibson (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Final position: 19th (Relegated)
Star manBen Gibson — The 24-year-old defender played all 3420 Premier League minutes for Boro, and was the most consistent performer on a team that defended like a top half side.
The Gaffer: Aitor Karanka / Steve Agnew — Karanka has a right to feel a bit hard done-by after leading Boro to the Premier League, but he couldn’t orchestrate goals and that is what doomed the Smoggies down to the Championship.
Mark out of 10: 4/10 – Even with relegation, Boro didn’t embarrass itself like their Northeast neighbors Sunderland.
Season summed up in a word: Inoffensive.


Southampton

Romeu (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Final position: 8th
Star man: Oriol RomeuThe hard-nosed tackler with an eye for the smart pass showed us what Barcelona and Chelsea saw in the center midfielder.
The Gaffer: Claude Puel — Not back in Europe, and that’s a disappointment, and seems destined to start next season somewhere else. Is that fair for a League Cup final campaign, one that probably deserved better than a loss?
Mark out of 10: 6/10 – An injury to stellar center back Virgil Van Dijk is likely what kept them from contending with Everton for seventh place. Their Europa League return was decent, and Puel (or whoever) will need to boost the club back into the Top Seven discussion early if he wants to stick around St. Mary’s.
Season summed up in a word: Acceptable.


Stoke City

Martins Indi (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Final position: 13th
Star man: Bruno Martins Indi — The Dutchman was a beast in the back for Stoke, but heads back to Porto this summer unless Mark Hughes can work a sale.
The Gaffer: Mark Hughes — An injury to Geoff Cameron hampered their season, but the Potters stumbled too much given their talent.
Mark out of 10: 3/10 –  There’s a difference between leveling off and dropping off, and Stoke massively underachieved when it comes to taking any sort of step forward.
Season summed up in a word: Underwhelming


Sunderland

Pickford (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Final position: 20th (Relegated)
Star man: Jordan Pickford — The young backstop won’t be long for the Stadium of Light.
The Gaffer: David Moyes — From word one the Scottish boss said his club wasn’t good enough for the league, which sure didn’t help them en route to relegation. Oddly enough, he could’ve been the right man to lead an undermanned rebound to the Championship. Instead, he’s resigned.
Mark out of 10: 1/10 – There was nothing to like from the Northeast, but Jermain Defoe, Didier N’Dong, and Pickford were bright spots.
Season summed up in a word: Moribund.


Swansea City

(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Final position: 15th
Star manGylfi Sigurdsson — The Icelandic star is simply the reason Swans stayed alive long enough to see their season rescued by Clement and Co.
The Gaffer: Francesco Guidolin / Bob Bradley / Paul Clement — Not one of these men were given enough talent to keep the team in the Premier League, so credit to Clement for getting it done.
Mark out of 10: 3/10 – Selling Ashley Williams and not adequately replacing him as a leader or center back could go down as the worst move in a long time.
Season summed up in a word: Fortunate.


Tottenham Hotspur

Kane (Danny Lawson/PA via AP)

Final position: 2nd (Champions League group stage)
Star man: Harry Kane — Two Golden Boots before he’s turned 24, and the latest Englishman to have a deserved comparison to Alan Shearer.
The Gaffer: Mauricio Pochettino — He’s one of the best managers in the world, and Spurs are fortunate to have him.
Mark out of 10: 10/10 – From the development of Dele Alli to the steadiness of their back line, Spurs could be the next dynastic club in the Premier League.
Season summed up in a word: Precipice.


Watford

Capoue (Scott Heavey/PA via AP)

Final position: 17th
Star manEtienne Capoue — Impressed in possession and finishing touch. In some ways he may be like Gylfi Sigurdsson as a player best suited to stand out on a lesser squad than contribute on a well-oiled machine.
The Gaffer: Walter Mazzarri — Like Quique Flores, another Watford manager sent packing by an impatient brand.
Mark out of 10: 6/10 – Avoided the other end of the yo-yo worry.
Season summed up in a word: Alive.


West Bromwich Albion

Foster (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Final position: 10th
Star man: Ben Foster — Saved points for the Baggies on so many occasions.
The Gaffer: Tony Pulis — Yes he was in the running to be Premier League Manager of the Year, but that feels a bit hollow, like honoring a domestic mainstay for talking down his club’s chances and then keeping them from the drop. At some point, like with Stoke, stagnation makes staying alive less impressive.
Mark out of 10: 6/10 – Gareth McAuley, Jonny Evans, and Foster helped defend to the death, but the club dropped off a cliff.
Season summed up in a word: Sated.


West Ham United

Reid (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Final position: 11th
Star man: Winston Reid — The New Zealand captain was a steady presence in a tumultuous season.
The Gaffer: Slaven Bilic — Given the club’s massive aims, this season will be combed through in a fine manner. But the Dimitri Payet saga clobbered the team after the Frenchman welched on his commitment to the club. Bilic deserves another chance.
Mark out of 10: 5/10 – The chairman will want more than this, and he has to get it early this Fall.
Season summed up in a word: Wobbly.


Middlesbrough devastated after Premier League departure confirmed

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It’s hard to say it was fun while it lasted but Middlesbrough’s short Premier League tenure officially came to an abrupt end on Monday.

[ MORE: Chelsea cruise past Middlesbrough as title hopes draw near ]

The Boro’s latest 3-0 defeat at the hands of presumptuous PL title chasers Chelsea ensured the club’s trip back down to the Championship after just one season in England’s top flight.

[ MORE: Five takeaways from Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough ]

Middlesbrough joins Sunderland as two of the three sides confirmed for relegation this season, and while it may not be surprising to see the Boro head back down to the second-tire of English soccer, it is still heartbreaking for both the players and the staff.

Over the course of the 2016/17 season, the Boro have racked up just five PL wins, none of which have come against sides currently in the top half of the table.

Much of the club’s lack of success can likely be attributed to the team’s former manager, Aitor Karanka, who was sacked by Middlesbrough back in mid-March.

Caretaker manager Steve Agnew has guided his side to four positive results (1W, 3D) since taking over, including a 2-2 draw in their previous match against Manchester City, however, the Boro simply haven’t been able to display the quality necessary to stay up another season.

“We’re absolutely devastated,” Agnew said. “We worked so hard to get back in the Premier League last season. To lose tonight and lose our Premier League status is a massive and bitter disappointment.

“Now we have to finish off strongly before a summer of reflection. It’s about Middlesbrough Football Club and how we can turn it around next season to get this club back where it belongs.”

Agnew isn’t the only one reflecting on the disappointment though.

Defender Ben Gibson, who is the only Boro player to play every minute of the PL season up until this point, expressed his hurt after the loss.

“It’s not just tonight, it’s a full season,” Gibson told Sky Sports. “From top to bottom we haven’t been good enough. Players, staff, myself.

“They [Chelsea] were much better in every department. It could have been 4,5,6-0. It was the lowest point of my career. We’ve got to put it right.

“In fact it’s the lowest point of my life, not just my career. It means that much.

“The fans didn’t stop singing, wherever we’ve been this season they’ve been the same. The fans deserve Premier League football and we have to find a team to do that

“We have to reflect on what’s gone wrong.”