Arsenal have chalked Ben White on their provisional summer shortlist after the Brighton & Hove Albion centre-half’s excellent loan spell with Leeds United, according to Football Insider.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is thought to be plotting further reinforcements to his backline at the Emirates Stadium, and has requested that his club’s scouting department start to closely monitor White’s situation ahead of the next window.
White has been hotly linked with a Premier League move since first stepping foot inside Elland Road and proving himself in the Championship, with Liverpool, Manchester United and Leicester City also named as potential suitors.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have been credited with an interest in the past, too, with reports earlier in the term claiming that the Stamford Bridge natives’ scouting department had filed raving reports that suggested the 22-year-old would be worth the £25million Brighton are believed to want.
Arsenal are now entering the scene despite the North London outfit already due to welcome William Saliba this summer, having signed the Frenchman for £27m in 2019 before loaning him back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019/20 season.
David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi and January loan signing Pablo Mari have been Arteta’s primary defensive options since replacing Unai Emery, though they may find themselves questioning their on-going roles should the Spaniard persist with a pursuit of White.
Arteta looking to strengthen the core of his backline is not overly surprising, given Arsenal have suffered their latest stutter by bowing out of the Europa League to Olympiacos in the Round of 32 and now face a challenge to avoid a fourth season without Champions League football.
Could Ben White slot into a top-six PL side next season?
White has been tremendous for us throughout his time on loan thus far, which has featured 40 appearances in all competitions under Marcelo Bielsa who has called on the Poole-born defender to start 39 games.
No United player has featured more often in the Championship this term than White, as well, as the Seagulls defender is our only first-team figure to have played each minute of the second-tier campaign after 37 fixtures.
Those relentless minutes have resulted in White helping to keep 17 clean sheets, ranking top among all Championship players for interceptions (86), and rank first at Elland Road for clearances (110), shots blocked (24), total passes (2,062), second for aerial duels won (105) and fourth for successful tackles (63), per WhoScored data.
Statistics collected by Sofa Score also show the Brighton loanee to have won 5.8 duels per game (3.0 ground, 2.8 aerial), while yet making an error that has led to a shot, making it no wonder more Premier League eyes are fixing on his services.
In other Leeds United news, the club are considering a move to sign a midfielder who completes 52% of his long passes.