DARRON GIBSON has conceded the time might be right to leave Manchester United in search of regular first team football with Sunderland as the ‘Black Cats’ closed in on signing the midfielder last night.
SIMON COLLINS reports
Sunderland boss, Steve Bruce launched a £12 million raid on his former club on Wednesday for United trio John O’Shea, Wes Brown and Gibson, and it’s understood the Old Trafford club accepted the bid late last night.
Gibson - whose contract expires next summer - is viewed as a ready-made replacement for Jordan Henderson who looks bound for Liverpool with the Republic of Ireland international admitting last night he would “love to play for Steve Bruce” should he find himself surplus to requirements at United.
Following United’s imminent capture of ex-Blackburn centre-half, Phil Jones - who can also operate in Gibson’s central midfield role - that chance appears to have arrived sooner than anticipated with the wheels already in motion on his transfer to the North East of England.
The 23 year-old Hazelbank lad arrived in Manchester eight years ago and burst onto the first team scene in the 2008/09 season. However, he now appears destined for the Stadium of Light despite enjoying his most successful season in a United shirt.
The talented midfielder won his first Premiership winners’ medal this season, making 20 appearances for his club in all competitions including three Champions League appearances en-route to last month’s Wembley Final.
While it’s understood an agreement has been reached between the two clubs on the transfer fee, personal terms have yet to be ironed out with each of the players involved and their representatives.
However, the attractive prospect of regular first team football under Bruce looks like being the deciding factor in any move for Gibson. Commenting to the ‘Journal’ last night, the Derry man suggested that it could be the perfect time for him to part ways with his boyhood club.
“It wouldn’t faze me one bit to leave, all I want is what’s best for me,” declared Gibson. “So if the best thing for me is to leave and go somewhere that I’ll play every week then so be it.
“I haven’t sat down with Sir Alex to talk about it but obviously if it comes to me not playing as much as I would like next season then I’ll have to move on. It has come to the stage were I’m nearly 24 and I’m going to have to go somewhere else if I don’t start playing regularly.
“If it comes down to it I just want to go somewhere where it’s right for me.”
A Lot to Offer
And Sunderland would offer a genuine chance for Gibson to establish himself on the Premiership stage and he feels both parties would benefit from his arrival on Wearside.
“There are four teams every year that play in the Champions League from the Premiership so there’s not many other teams in the Premiership that would have that experience within their team. So even though I am young, no matter where I go, experience-wise, I’m going to be a big help.
“Obviously playing International and Champions League football is going to be a big help to wherever I go. So if I do leave it will be a big help to which ever team I go to and it will obviously be a big help to me too if I’m playing every week.”
And the presence of former United captain, Steve Bruce at Sunderland would be a key reason for any potential move to the side which finished 10th last season.
“Steve Bruce has played under Sir Alex Ferguson as well and I think he bases his managerial style on Sir Alex,” added Gibson. “If it came to it, I would love to play for Steve Bruce but at the minute I’m not sure what’s going on.”
Should Gibson and Sunderland agree personal terms, then the former Tristar Boys and Maiden City Soccer Academy representative says he would relish the prospect of teaming up with current club mates, O’Shea and Brown.
“It would not only be a massive help for us (O’Shea and Brown) going together but it would be a massive boost for Sunderland as well because we’ve played together for four or five years, we know each other and that experience would be brilliant for any team. Even if we went individually it would be brilliant for the club.
“To be fair, if Sunderland got the three of us it would be unbelievable business for Sunderland.”
Gibson’s departure from the ‘Red Devils’ has been rumoured for some time and recent criticism from United supporters may have forced his hand.
Up-rooting from his Manchester home with his girlfirend Daniella and daughter Evie is not ideal but Gibson admitted it is something he is prepared to do in search of an opportunity to improve his career prospects.
What do you think? Would leaving United be a good career move for Darron? Leave us a comment below?