With Euro 2020 firmly in the rear-view mirror, the majority of England’s biggest Premier League clubs are getting down to signing cheques to secure some of the biggest names in world football. Arsenal is no exception to this, it seems Arsenal are on the cusp of securing the services of Brighton’s Ben White for the astonishing price of £50m with a plethora of add-on clauses.
While nobody can doubt the unbridled talent White possesses, there still seems to loom the question of if the 23-year-old defender is really worth the war chest Arsenal are prepared to spend. English talent certainly increases the price of any gleaming gem, but can the North London club really justify to fans the money that they are prepared to part with?
Why is Arsenal So Desperate to Sign Him?
Arsenal have been busy over the transfer period, bringing in Nuno Tavares and Albert SambiLokonga from Benfica and Anderlecht respectively, and it seems technical director Edu still has his eyes on the man who will turn Arsenal’s woes upside down, Ben White.
Mikel Arteta is determined to add another centre-back to steady up his ranks as he looks to improve Arsenal’s weaknesses before the 2021/22 season begins. Arsenal has been in the market for a household name at the back after opting not to extend David Luiz’s contract.
The Gunners are clearly making a statement that they mean business this season, with Thomas Partey’s scribble last season and Lokonga and Tavares both jumping on board, Arsenal seems set on a push for a top-table finish avoiding the realm of mid-table obscurity.
Arsenal’s Rear-guard Strength
Like the collective of football fans, Arsenal supporters relish the idea of a big summer signing – and the fact the club still remain prepared to hand over £50m to their man seems encouraging. However, questions have been exhumed since the signing’s prospect.
Mikel Arteta’s team conceded just 39 goals in the Premier League – the third-best in the division, but only managed to score 55, a tally which ranked joint-ninth. So why are Arsenal prepared to spend so much money on a central defender, after last season their main issue was creativity and putting the ball in the back of the net?
The simple answer is that Arsenal believes in White and know the danger he possesses moving forward with the ball. While he might not be the player who gets on the end of crosses, he is the player that starts the momentum and the attack from out the back.
The Gunners have been very transparent when it comes to their pursuit of a centre-half and this dates back. The North London club has been very honest from the start that they are prepared to spend the money on a player that they can get a career out of. The club explored a potential deal for Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, but ultimately decided he was not viable. This is when the club’s attention turned to the South Coast.
Ben White’s England Call Up
Ben White was drafted into the Three Lion’s squad after Trent Alexander-Arnold dropped out through injury. Gareth Southgate saw potential in the Brighton defender and bolstered his ranks after toying with the idea of Jesse Lingard, Ben White or James Ward-Prowse – all whom impressed against Austria and Romania.
The 23-year-old showcased his versatility in the warm-up games, while the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Harry Maguire’s fitness could make extra cover in central defence all the more important.
Ben White had proved his worth and was on the plane to Euro 2020, and with this selection came a lucrative price tag. Ben White was never needed at the competition in the end, and even though England were the favourites in the sports spread betting markets, they ultimately fell short against Italy in the final.
Successful Loan Spells
White emerged through the youth ranks at Brighton and spent the first three loan spells with Newport County during the 2017/2018 campaign. He captured the League Two side player of the year award and helped them reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.
White is also remembered as fondly at Peterborough Town, where he spent the second half of the 2018/19 season. From the Cambridgeshire outfit, White went on to join Leeds, thriving and enjoying his best season yet as he aided Marco Bielsa’s side reach the Premier League.
Leeds saw White as a cult figure after he returned to Brighton and Leeds tried to sign the exciting young prospect after his loan spell. Brighton politely rejected Leeds’ increasing offers and established the home-grown talent at the Amex over the last Premier League season.