Arsenal are closing on what may be their marquee signing of the summer with Ben White in the final stages of completing his long-awaited move from Brighton.
With Arsenal playing a behind-closed-doors friendly with Watford at London Colney on Wednesday, just a stone’s throw away there is other work being tended to as White closes in on becoming Mikel Arteta’s third arrival of the window.
With discussions having gone on for over a month, White returned back to the UK from his post-European Championship holidays to seal his record breaking move. The first part of his medical was believed to have taken place last weekend – potentially with interviews and official pictures – with the final step conducted on Wednesday.
As confirmed by Sky Sports previously, this could well be underway as Arteta leads his team out against the Hornets for their second hastily arranged fixture following the cancellation of their USA tour.
Arsenal transfer details for Ben White revealed following medical on Wednesday ahead of club-record defensive signing from Brighton
In terms of the details, Arsenal saw two offers of £40m and £47m respectively rejected by the Seagulls before striking an agreement to sign the 23-year-old, with the deal said to be totalling around £50m.
“Everything is agreed club to club, the fee is a guaranteed £50m, the second-highest transfer fee exchanged for an English centre-back, £30m of that will be paid within one year for Brighton and then two more payments of £10m in following seasons,” Duncan Castles told the Transfer Window Podcast.
“There are over £5m of performance-related variables based on Ben White’s achievements at international level and club achievements by Arsenal, so basically whether or not they win major trophies during his time at the club.”
It’s very rare these days for any transfers to be up front fees with the exception of buyout clauses, so the details of the deal come as no major surprise.
There is also a sell-on clause inserted by Brighton, one undisclosed, while the contract is thought to be a four-year deal with the option of extending that for another 12 months.
Whatever anyone may think of spending £50m (possibly up to £55m) on a centre-back is now water under the bridge. The deal is happening and putting the fee to one side, it’s an excellent one. White’s ability to progress the ball, his versatility and and how strong he is covering his full-back are all going to be key attributes that will, crucially, improve the starting lineup.
£50m may turn out to feel like nothing as far as an investment goes depending on him settling in well at Arsenal and whether this transfer doesn’t limit spending elsewhere. If it does, then previous disgruntlement has every right to return.
Arsenal have bought some atrocious central defenders in their history, and this finally looks like being one to buck that trend.