Arsenal are on course to break their club-record transfer fee for a defender, a deal entirely irrelevant to anyone outside of north London or Brighton, and yet the move is being compared to one in the works 200 miles away.
Mikel Arteta has earmarked central defence as an area in need of bolstering this window with David Luiz departing and William Saliba still not deemed at the level required for Premier League football, hence £50m is being parted with for Ben White.
While it’s a lot of money, the financial aspect is deemed worthwhile for a player who fits a specific profile the club has set out to attain this window. All the signings thus far fit into that mould and the ones rumoured do, too.
With White being homegrown and this being a Premier League to Premier League transfer the expected ‘taxes’ have been applied. One need only look at Harry Maguire’s move to Manchester United from Leicester.
Arsenal: Pointless Ben White & Raphael Varane debate lacks context as Manchester United close in on cheaper transfer for Real Madrid defender
And speaking on United, they’ve gone about their business this transfer window, dare we say, annoyingly well. Jadon Sancho comes in for significantly less than he was quoted 12 months ago and solves a problematic right-sided forward, as well as, of course, being an excellent young talent.
The debate has been sparked elsewhere, though. Raphael Varane is set to join on a £35m move from Real Madrid. That’s cheap. It’s very cheap. Four-time Champions League, three-time La Liga and World Cup winner Raphael Varane.
Due to Arsenal spending a £15m more on White, who nobody can suggest is anywhere near Varane’s level, the comparisons have been drawn.
It’s a pointless and lazy discussion to have in the first place, one that disregards all context and seeks merely to point score. There are numerous factors that dictate valuation in this case.
One of the players in question is a 28-year-old who is two months into his final year of contract. The other is a 23-year-old with three years left to run, has resale value and has homegrown status. Furthermore, Brighton are in absolutely no rush to sell therefore can hold Arsenal to ransom, meanwhile Real Madrid are being forced to with extensive debt and the risk of losing the Frenchman for free in ten months’ time.
Throw in White’s £100k-per-week salary due to be dwarfed by Varane’s wages, which are said to be edging closer to the £300k-per-week mark.
Two deals not even remotely similar other than that they both play in central defence. Arsenal wouldn’t have been able to sign Varane if they had tried, but they wouldn’t have gone in for him knowing that they will see no return on their investment. United can afford that hit and have purchased one of the world’s best central defenders over the past 5-6 years on an excellent deal.
Varane will unfortunately improve them considerably. Which is why it’s alright because Arsenal aren’t anywhere near being able to compete with United in the table, right?
Enough lazy comparisons and just focus on your own garden. The internet, eh?