Arsenal are set to complete a £50million deal for Brighton & Hove Albion defender Ben White after having two initial offers rejected.
White represented England at Euro 2020, although he did not manage a minute of football at the tournament, with talks between the south coast club and the north Londoners ongoing through the competition.
Whilst the Seagulls aren’t in a position where they need to sell the defender, they have shown willing to let him go if their £50million valuation was met, which it appears the Gunners now have.
Mikel Arteta is a huge admirer of White, and it’s easy to see why. He’s been an integral part of Graham Potter’s tactics which like Arteta’s heavily revolve around good possession play and starting attacking sequences from the defence.
This will mean White will often be tasked with collecting the ball from his keeper, carrying it forward or firing it into the feet of teammates in good positions ahead of him.
As an ‘in possession’ defender, White’s profile is exactly what Arteta wants, and his arrival would alleviate some of the void left by the departure of David Luiz who was a key player within Arteta’s system.
Despite this, there are some concerns over aspects of White’s ability when it comes to defending, with his capacity to compete in the air looking somewhat of a fragility in his make-up.
This point is captured by looking at his aerial duel success rate in comparison to all Premier League central defenders who played over 1000 league minutes last season. From that group of 75 players, White ranked 61st in terms of aerial duels won.
For comparison, the aforementioned Luiz ranked inside the top 25 in this department last season.
Being imposing in the air is a key staple for any top defender, and the same is usually crucial if a team wants to implement a style of play that sees them dominate the ball and keep the opposition pinned deep inside their own half.
Get the latest Arsenal transfer news straight to your inbox
The summer window is officially open, and it’s going to be tough to keep up with the comings and goings in and out of the Emirates.
By signing up to our newsletter here, you’ll be kept up to date on the latest news and rumours as they break, all in one place. You’ll also receive exclusive insight and articles from club writers Chris Wheatley and Kaya Kaynak, all for free.
We also want to hear from you. Create an account here in just a few moments, so you can have your say on all things Arsenal, join the debate and take part in exclusive Q&As as well.
White might already be exhibiting great ability in other areas of his game which suggests that he’s one day ready to go on and become a top tier Premier League defender.
However his size, standing at 6ft, does suggest that he should be better than he is currently showing himself to be in the air, and it’s certain to be an area of his game that he needs to improve if he is to truly excel at a top club like Arsenal.
Do you want an exclusive pre-season Arsenal preview – both in your inbox and through your letterbox? Head over here to find out more and secure your copy!