Arsenal have agreed to a deal in principle with Brighton & Hove Albion for Ben White for a reported £50 million fee.
According to Sky Sports, there is an agreement between Arsenal and Brighton for Ben White. The Gunners will reportedly pay £50 million for the English defender, who is still on holiday after his role with England at the UEFA Euro 2020. Medicals and final paperwork are expected to be done when White returns on 26th July.
Arsenal have taken a huge step forward with their transfer plans for this summer. A central defender had been a priority for Mikel Arteta after the departure of David Luiz. The Gunners also allowed William Saliba to join Marseille on loan for his development, leaving Rob Holding as the only recognised right-sided central defender.
White has been their top target despite links with other defenders, as they considered the Brighton man to be a perfect replacement for Luiz. Premier League sides such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton all had a genuine interest in White, but the England international had already made up his mind about joining Arsenal.
Arsenal also saw two bids worth £40 million and £47 million being rejected before their latest offer. Brighton have remained adamant over their valuation of the defender and wanted their asking price to be paid. The Gunners have been patient with their approach and always considered the favourites to sign White.
Arteta will be pleased with this agreement as his plans are slowly falling in place ahead of next season. The Arsenal manager and technical director Edu still have work to do in other areas. A central midfielder is the next priority despite the Gunners being close to completing a deal for Albert Sambi Lokonga.
A striker could also come in, with the futures of Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette still uncertain. Tammy Abraham’s name has been linked with Arsenal recently, with Chelsea reportedly open to letting him join any team that matches their £40 million valuation. Finally, an attacking midfielder could also come in with links to Houssem Aouar and James Maddison still very much active.
Covering those areas will take some time, but Arsenal will be delighted to have got their perfect central defender for now. At 23 years old, White will play his best football at Arsenal, with a five-year deal on the cards. The north Londoners have acquired one of English football’s best defensive prospects to add to their growing British core.
White joined Brighton from Southampton’s academy back in 2015. Since then, he has had numerous loan deals with clubs in lower tiers. The defender came to prominence at Leeds two seasons ago, helping the side win the Championship and promotion to the Premier League.
The Englishman has had only one full season in the Premier League with Brighton, making 36 appearances. White was always rated highly, considering Liverpool were chasing him hard last summer. However, the Reds cooled off their interest after signing Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig earlier this summer.
As things stand, a medical with Arsenal is scheduled for after White returns from his holidays, reportedly around 26th July. After he is confirmed, White will certainly improve Arsenal’s defence which was ranked third in the previous season. Arteta can now focus on getting his other priority targets as the season approaches.