Former England international Kevin Phillips has lauded Ben White as the perfect summer buy for Leeds United, having been blow away by the defender’s performances while on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion.
White moved to Elland Road for the 2019/20 season having never played a minute of league football higher than the third-tier, but has proven himself to be integral to Marcelo Bielsa’s plans with more minutes to his name (3,330) than any other United player.
Phillips believes White’s performances have been ‘outstanding’, too, having helped the club to keep a Championship-high 17 clean sheets, with teams failing to score against us in 46% of the league fixtures we have played so far.
But those displays have not gone amiss in the top-flight, with Arsenal the latest side to set their sights on the Poole-born ace, previously linked with a potential move to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United or Leicester City.
Any side willing to snatch White in the summer faces paying around £25million, and Phillips would urge our Director of Football Victor Orta to find the funds needed if Brighton are willing to let the 22-year-old leave the Amex for good.
“Yes [Leeds should try and sign White permanently],” Phillips told Football Insider. “He’s showed he’s very versatile, stepping into that Kalvin Phillips role when he’s been out.
Could we tempt White into a permanent move without PL football?
“He’s obviously got a good football brain on him because he can playing positions without a lot of time to work on them in the training ground.
“Week in and week out he seems to be getting better and better. I’ve been really impressed with his composure, coming out from the back, he looks very comfortable on the ball. He can run and he can defend when he needs too.
“Ben White seems to enjoy playing at Leeds, he seems very settled, and he’s been outstanding.”
As well as helping Kiko Casilla to keep 15 clean sheets and having a hand in Illan Meslier’s two shut outs to date in the Championship this season, White has made the first-team’s fourth-most successful tackles (63) from the seventh-most attempts (80), per WhoScored data.
He has also made more interceptions (86) than any other player to have represented the Whites this term by 28 to second-placed Liam Cooper, while White sits first for clearances (110), shots blocked (24) and total passes (2,062), too.
Losing White in the summer would leave Orta with a challenging task finding a centre-back who can offer as much, so, hopefully, we can secure Premier League football and tempt the 22-year-old to stick around for a little bit longer.
In other Leeds United news, the club are on the lookout for the ideal summer signing to strengthen Bielsa in whatever league we are competing in.