After a summer which was rife with speculation about his future, Brighton defender Ben White could be close to making a decision which would end such talk for the time being.
Sky Sports reported that the 22-year-old is close to agreeing an improved contract with the Seagulls, who had placed a £50m price tag on him in an attempt to ward off prospective suitors, with each of last season’s Premier League top six reportedly keen on him (as per The Sun).
As per Sky Sports, Albion rejected no fewer than three bids from Leeds for the player, the highest and most recent of which was £25m, as the Whites sought unsuccessfully to get him back following his loan spell at Elland Road in 2019/20.
It was during his loan move to Leeds last season that White shot to prominence, playing for the entirety of their Championship-winning campaign and therefore being a central figure to the Yorkshire club ending their 16-year exile from the Premier League.
The centre-back has still made just two official appearances for Brighton, although his inclusion in the starting line-up for last Saturday’s friendly against Chelsea at the Amex Stadium hints that Graham Potter views him as part of his first team plans for the upcoming season.
Will Ben White be a regular starter for Brighton in 2020/21?
With Shane Duffy due to complete his proposed loan move to Celtic today before teaming up with the Republic of Ireland squad to fly to Bulgaria for their UEFA Nations League clash on Thursday (as per Daily Mail), that seems a further indication that White is in the manager’s plans for 2020/21 if the Seagulls are willing to sanction the temporary exit of an experienced international with 130 appearances for the club.
That said, the 22-year-old will still need to displace one of Lewis Dunk or Adam Webster if he is to feature as a regular starter, with that duo starting 36 and 31 league games respectively last season as Potter’s preferred partnership – unless the manager intends to utilise an alternative formation which could accommodate all three, just as he did against Chelsea at the weekend.
Duffy’s imminent loan exit and White’s apparent closeness to signing a new contract very much suggests that the younger of the two has a promising future at Brighton, and it would bring a welcome end to considerable speculation about his next move.
The challenge then will be for the 22-year-old to demonstrate just why his club issued a £50m price tag for him and why he had apparently drawn the attention of the Premier League’s leading lights.
Brighton fans, how relieved will you be if/when White signs a new deal at the Amex? Have your say by commenting below!
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