Former Scotland defender Alan Hutton has criticised Brighton over what he feels is their “unfair” valuation of Ben White.
Earlier this week, Football Insider reported that the Seagulls have placed a £35m price tag on the 22-year-old centre-back, who has been on loan at Leeds this season and attracted transfer interest from the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Leicester.
Hutton, who played in the Premier League for Tottenham, Sunderland and Aston Villa, feels that Brighton are doing the defender a disservice by deeming him not good enough for their team and sending him out on loan before demanding a sizeable transfer fee from prospective suitors.
Speaking about White to Football Insider, the 35-year-old said: “I think he’s an excellent player, he’s done really, really well since the loan move but £35million? Wow, that is a big price.
“I think it’s kind of unfair, to be honest. Bournemouth kind of did it with Mings and Villa – they were happy to loan him out, therefore he probably wasn’t wanted at the time at the club.
“He’s went somewhere and done well and they’ve put this massive big fee on his head. I just think it’s a bit unfair. I understand the club want to get the most money for their players but he’s went out, worked hard and done that on his own.
“You can end up getting priced out of the market by your own club who didn’t want you in the first place. I think he’s been excellent for Leeds. He’d be a great acquisition.”
Should Brighton accept £35m for Ben White?
Hutton raises some fair points about Brighton’s £35m asking price for White. That seems like an exorbitant fee for someone who has only played twice for the Seagulls’ first team and has never made an appearance at Premier League level.
Hutton’s dismay at the Sussex club farming the youngster out on loan and then pricing him at a lofty fee in order to ward off prospective suitors is also understandable.
However, it is not through pure greed that Brighton value the 22-year-old so highly. He has indeed has an excellent season for Championship leaders Leeds, playing from start to finish in all 40 of their league games so far this term and averaging 2.9 clearances, 2.8 successful aerial duels, 2.3 interceptions and 1.8 successful tackles per game (as per WhoScored).
Also, in a market where Saint-Etienne can reap £27m from Arsenal for a defender in William Saliba and then take him back on loan from the Gunners (as per TransferMarkt), Brighton are well within their rights to safeguard young players such as White who have demonstrably shown enormous potential over the last few months.
The price of something is ultimately what someone is willing to pay for it, and if the Seagulls hierarchy feel that they can coax another Premier League club to cough up £35m or more for White, they are quite right to play hardball and get the best possible deal for themselves.
Brighton fans, is Hutton right to condemn the club over their £35m price tag or White or are the Seagulls justified in that move? Have your say by commenting below!
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