Leeds can forget about targeting Aston Villa centre-back James Chester this summer if Marcelo Bielsa is confident Ben White can deliver on his promises.
United were linked with the Welsh international defender during the week, with claims of a £7.5million bid for the injury-prone centre-half muted.
White, however, is confident he can be the man to replace Pontus Jansson in our backline after the Swede left Elland Road for Brentford, as quoted by the Yorkshire Post.
The 21-year-old will spend the 2019/20 season on loan in West Yorkshire from academy side Brighton and Hove Albion, and caught the eye of some during Wednesday night’s friendly triumph over Tadcaster Albion.
Bielsa left White behind in West Yorkshire while the first-team flew to Australia so he can work on his fitness levels, having missed five of Peterborough’s seven League One fixtures at the end of their recent term.
The 5 ft 9 Poole-born defender returned to play a full ninety minutes in each of the Posh’s final two games, and appears set to be named in our starting XI alongside Liam Cooper against Bristol City next month, with Bielsa seemingly willing to take the gamble.
White does not consider his presence in the starting line-up a gamble, however.
“Yes, I think so,” he replied, when asked if he could replace Jansson next season. “I think I have got it in me to do it, so we will see.”
“I had a couple of clubs that wanted to take me, but Leeds seemed the most interested,” he added.
“We had a meeting in the summer, and we discussed what I was looking to do this season, and it fitted with my aims. That is why I came here.”
With Bielsa seemingly ready to take a gamble on White, and White feeling as if he would be up to the challenge of succeeding Jansson, there would be next to no need for United to invest significant funds in 30-year-old Chester.
The alleged £7.5million offer touted would be far better invested in a defender that would compliment Cooper, White, and Gaetano Berardi, and potentially have a longer lifespan with the club should we secure a top-flight position come next May.
However, one pre-season appearance and 15 outings in League One cannot paint the picture that White is ready to form a rigid backline in the Championship, as experience on the edge of our box will be vital if we are to finally claw our way out of the second-tier.
Chester may not be the answer, but another Championship-veteran defender is likely needed at Elland Road if we are to challenge for promotion, and it would be better acquiring one now than regretting it when the fixtures start to pile up and the ball is hitting the back of our net.