Arsenal have reached an agreement in principle with Brighton and Hove Albion over the proposed transfer of Ben White, according to David Ornstein of The Athletic. There was a similar report earlier this month, which came from footall.london, but now the claim has come from a much more reliable source in Ornstein and has been relayed by other outlets, including the likes of Sky Sports and the BBC, as well.
The deal is set to cost the Gunners £50 million, with Brighton unwilling to even consider anything less than their reported original demand. There was interest in White from other clubs as well, but none of them have taken any concrete steps to sign the defender, believing him to be on his way to the Emirates. The agreement is still subject to a medical.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been keen on adding the 23-year-old to his ranks for a while now, intending to have White operate as the right-sided centre-back. The England international, who sat out the whole European Championship on the bench under Gareth Southgate, has experience both in a back line of four and of three, which is certainly something that would have appealed to Arteta greatly.
White was released by Southampton in 2014 and joined Brighton. His stock grew in time through loan spells with Newport County, Peterborough United and most notably Leeds United in 2019-20. Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa was extremely keen on making the deal permanent last summer, but the Seagulls reportedly rejected several offers towards it, which has obviously turned out well for the Gunners.
The deal was never likely to be wrapped up before the Euros were over, but the talks were always expected to accelerate after.
So, providing everything goes well with the medical, White should be officially announced as a new Arsenal player in a matter of days, and become Arsenal’s most expensive defender of all time. The club will have paid more only for the attacking trio of Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.