MIDDLESBROUGH will not be selling Ben Gibson next month – even if West Bromwich Albion return with an improved offer for the centre-half.

Boro rejected two bids for Gibson from the Baggies in the summer, the second of which was worth around £20m, but sources in the Midlands claim another approach could be in the offing next month.

Having held on to Jonny Evans in the summer, despite interest from both Manchester United and Manchester City, West Brom officials are braced for the Northern Ireland international’s departure in January.

Evans has 18 months remaining on his current contract, and the Baggies board are keen to cash in before the 29-year-old’s value drops markedly next summer. Evans is currently valued at around £35m, with Manchester United still understood to be extremely interested in a deal.

West Brom boss Alan Pardew is already assessing potential replacements, with the recruitment team at the Hawthorns continuing to push Gibson’s credentials.

The Teessider has not enjoyed the best of seasons so far, but remains one of the most highly-rated young centre-halves in the country. Having forced his way into the senior England set-up at the end of last season, Gibson is still regarded as an equal to the likes of Harry Maguire and Michael Keane, who are outside candidates for a place in England’s World Cup squad next summer.

If Evans leaves the Hawthorns, West Brom could well resurrect their interest in Gibson. However, any attempt to sign the 24-year-old will be immediately rebuffed.

Having sanctioned more than £40m worth of spending in the summer, Steve Gibson is not about to undermine Middlesbrough’s promotion prospects by selling one of his side’s key players.

Boro currently sit in tenth position in the Championship table after a disappointing first half of the season, but the club’s hierarchy continue to regard promotion as a realistic ambition provided Garry Monk finds a way of ironing out some of the inconsistencies that have plagued his side’s play in recent weeks.

Monk retains the support of those above him despite having overseen a run of just two wins from the last six matches, and there is no desire to make the Boro boss’ job even more difficult by selling the club’s leading centre-half.

Steve Gibson regards his nephew as one of his side’s most important and influential performers, and he will not be leaving next month no matter what offer is placed on the table.

The defender only signed a new five-year contract in October, committing him to his hometown club until 2022, meaning Boro are perfectly positioned to be able to reject any offers that come their way in January.

It remains to be seen whether the Teessiders will be making any additions next month, but they have been linked with a possible loan move for Liverpool winger Ryan Kent.

Kent is currently on a season-long loan with German side Freiburg, but has managed just one Bundesliga start.

Liverpool are considering triggering a clause that will enable them to cut short the 21-year-old’s stay in Germany. If they recall him to Anfield, they will then look to send him back out on loan in the second half of the season.

Middlesbrough, Leeds and Fulham have all been credited with a potential interest, with Monk having struggled to fill his side’s left-midfield position for the majority of the season.

Stewart Downing, Martin Braithwaite, Adama Traore, Marvin Johnson and Marcus Tavernier have all been tried in the role, but none have made a convincing case for a permanent slot on the left-hand side of Boro’s midfield.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa centre-half John Terry has revealed he is hoping to return to action in his side’s Championship game at Middlesbrough on December 30.

Terry has been sidelined since breaking his metatarsal at the start of last month, but the former England international is targeting a comeback in his side’s final game of the year.