Arsenal are preparing to move for Brighton and Hove Albion’s Ben White, according to James McNicholas and David Ornstein of The Athletic. The Gunners’ interest in the defender was first reported by the Mirror’s John Cross a few days ago, and it has now been confirmed by journalists whose stories about Arsenal usually prove reasonably accurate.
White spent 2019-20 on loan at Leeds United and his fine performances not only helped Marcelo Bielsa’s team secure Premier League promotion, but also drew attention from a number of English top-flight clubs. Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United were all mentioned in that aspect at different points of the season.
Brighton reportedly rejected several significant offers for his services last year in order to keep him at the Amex for 2020-21, and it has proven to have been the right move. White’s rise continued, culminating recently with England manager Gareth Southgate giving him a spot in his squad for the Euros after Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold dropped out through injury.
White joined Brighton’s Under-18 side from Southampton’s academy back in 2014. Apart from Leeds, he also had temporary spells with Newport County and Peterborough. In 2020-21, he made 39 appearances for the Seagulls in all competitions, 36 in the Premier League.
At the age of 23, White is a highly versatile defender. Primarily a centre-back who does as well in a back-three system as he does in a back four, he can also play as a classic right-back, boasting considerable pace to go with his formidable aerial ability.
As for Arsenal, they are said to be looking to strengthen their ranks in practically every department. Their priority is believed to be an attacking midfielder with Martin Odegaard in the spotlight, but adding a high-quality centre-back is not far behind.