Arsenal track in-form 22-year-old starlet – Would he be a smart long-term addition for the Gunners?

Ben White has signed a new four-year deal with Brighton (Getty Images)
Ben White signed a new four-year deal with Brighton in September (Getty Images)

Why Arsenal should do everything possible to sign Brighton’s Ben White

According to Football Insider (h/t The Sun), Arsenal are keeping tabs on Ben White following his impressive spell with Leeds United.

Ben White of Leeds United reacts to the fans following the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United at The Hawthorns on January 01, 2020 in West Bromwich, England. (Getty Images)
Ben White of Leeds United reacts to the fans following the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United at The Hawthorns on January 01, 2020 in West Bromwich, England. (Getty Images)

Brighton defender Ben White, 22, joined Leeds United on a season-long last summer and has remarkably played every single minute of the Whites’ promotion-chasing league season. He has been the standout in a defence that has only shipped 30 goals in 37 league games.

The 22-year-old caught Arsenal’s attention when Leeds faced them in the third round of the FA Cup in January. The report (h/t The Sun) adds that Liverpool, Manchester City and Leicester City are also interested in White as they track his form at Elland Road.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have been in a good form of late, winning three consecutive Premier League games. This sees them in contention for Champions League qualification, although they remain eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.

Ben White in action for Brighton. (Getty Images)
Ben White in action for Brighton. (Getty Images)

Despite signs of improvement under the leadership of Mikel Arteta, the Gunners do have few shortcomings in their squad. One glaring weakness is their defence, which has conceded 36 goals in 28 games. With the north London giants being porous at the back, Arteta focused on reinforcing his defence in January by signing Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares on loan.

Mari made his PL debut for Arsenal in the 1-0 victory over West Ham. While he helped the Gunners keep a clean sheet, there’s still a lack of quality and depth in defence and Arteta should reinforce his backline after the poor form of experienced defenders David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos this season.

Ben White would be a smart fit at the Emirates Stadium. White, who joined Brighton’s youth ranks in 2016 after he was released from Southampton’s academy at the age of 16, has enjoyed loan spells with Newport County and Peterborough United. This season, he has been brilliant at Leeds and it’s no surprise to see him attract interest from a host of Premier League clubs.

Mikel Arteta shakes hands with his Arsenal players. (Getty Images)
Mikel Arteta shakes hands with his Arsenal players. (Getty Images)

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Let’s not forget that before this season, White hadn’t played above League One level, and now he’s linked with a move to Arsenal. That simply speak volumes about the centre-back’s development in just one season.

The Englishman is a centre-back by trade but can be deployed as a defensive midfielder too, as seen this season at Leeds. The 22-year-old could be a good addition to Arsenal’s squad for that reason.

Verdict

Considering Arsenal’s long-standing defensive problems this season, Arteta should definitely sign a new centre-back in the summer after adding Mari in January. With William Saliba set to officially become an Arsenal player in June, adding another talented defender like White would represent a smart long-term investment at the Emirates Stadium.

Written by Rohan Sengupta

Football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.

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