Arsenal are reportedly closing in on a deal to sign Ben White from Brighton, amid claims a compromise over his fee is close to being finalised.
The Gunners have made overhauling their backline a mission in what is expected to be a critical transfer window. David Luiz is due to depart as a free agent, while William Saliba has been inked with Newcastle on loan. Full-back Hector Bellerin is another who could go, with a Liverpool man recently naming who he will likely be joining.
However, Mikel Arteta’s side are looking at strengthening the heart of their defence and have identified impressive Three Lions centre-back White as their No 1 option.
The 23-year-old Brighton defender’s stock has risen dramatically over the last two years, culminating in an England call-up after just one season of top flight football.
Reports last week claimed the Gunners had seen an initial £40m approach rejected by the Seagulls.
However, Arsenal are not being deterred and a second, improved offer is planned.
And with White keen on the move, it was reported that last week that White was already house-hunting in leafy Hertfordshire.
To that end, the Seagulls are believed to have placed a £50m asking price on his head. And knowing that he wants the move, it’s about maximising the most they can from his sale.
Indeed, reports have stated that a compromise could soon be reached. That will see Arsenal pay an initial £40m for the player, but with a further £10m made up of achievable add-ons and targets.
That is a claim verified last week by Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth.
“I’m told that talks are continuing and Arsenal are expected to go back in with an improved offer,” said Sheth.
“It’s interesting because Ben White signed a new contract with Brighton last summer which takes him up until 2024. That came off the back of three bids from Leeds United that were all rejected.
“But what a season he has had. He’s been a regular fixture in the Premier League with Brighton. Then he became part of that England squad for Euro 2020. And now it looks like Arsenal would very, very much like to have him at the Emirates.
“A £40m bid has gone in and been rejected but that is not the end of it.”
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Seaman casts doubts on Ben White deal
While White is soon expected to be an Arsenal player, Gunners legend David Seaman has expressed one major doubt he has of the player.
Having watched White’s progress at Leeds and now Brighton, Seaman believes White is heading for the top.
However, he’s uncertain about Arsenal paying such a large fee for a player largely untested at the very top level.
“He’s got everything [needed] to go and take hold of it and give it his best shot,” Seaman told Goal of White joining Arsenal.
“He’s got the physique, he’s got the temperament. At Leeds it’s a high-press, high-tempo game, so his fitness is also not in doubt.
“The only question mark you can put on him is can he play in the big games? But we’ll just have to wait and see, because he’s not played in them yet.
“Hopefully he will go on and play for England and when he does that, hopefully he will carry on [with his development].
“Would he be a good signing for Arsenal? Of course he would because he’s a good player.”
Seaman, however, is of no doubt White is ready for a big move.
“No, not at all, not now,” said Seaman when asked if White is too inexperienced for a move to one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs.
“It’s like when you see the England team now, you look at Mason Mount and Phil Foden, those sort of guys. They are young guys and they are just getting on with it.
“At that age, they just have no fear. They just want to play and enjoy it. It’s when they get a little bit older and they’ve had a bit of stick that they start worrying.”