Arsenal close in on third summer signing

Ben White of Brighton & Hove Albion by James Boyes from UK, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Arsenal have already made two acquisitions this summer, with Nuno Taveres coming in from Benfica and Sambi Lokonga being signed from RSC Anderlecht, but the Gunners aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Mikel Arteta is on the hunt for a central defender and Fabrizio Romano of Sky Sports and the Guardian says Arsenal are closing in on a £50m deal to take Ben White from Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Gunners released David Luiz on a free transfer and loaned out William Saliba to Olympique Marseille, so they need a replacement defender to challenge Gabriel Magalhães, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari.

White joined Brighton from Southampton in 2014 and has gone on to make 41 appearances in all competitions.

The 23-year-old struggled for playing time in his early years at the Amex and was loaned out to Newport County (August 2017 – May 2018), Peterborough United (January 2019 – May 2019) and Leeds United (July 2019 – July 2020) for first-team football.

After impressing at Leeds, Whites returned to Brighton and has been a regular at the heart of the defence. He made 39 appearances across the board last season and was rewarded with a place in England’s 26-man squad for the 2020 European Championships.

The 23-year-old’s career is going in the right direction, but the price tag will bring its own pressure. White should be a regular in defence and will have to hit the ground running to avoid criticism, but Arsenal have underperformed in the last 12 months.

The Gunners finished 8th in the Premier League last season, losing more than a third of their games.

No doubt White is a talented player who is an improvement on Arsenal’s existing defenders, but it remains to be seen whether he can deliver after making the step up.

At £50m, he’ll be the Gunners third most expensive signing, behind Nicolas Pepe (£72m) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£57.4m).