As reported by Sky Sports, the Seagulls recently rejected a £22m bid from the newly-promoted Yorkshire club, to whom he was on loan last season. Football Insider had previously claimed that the Sussex outfit value the centre-back at £35m.
Despite being ever-present in Leeds’ promotion-winning campaign, White has made just two senior appearances for Brighton, with Whelan hoping that the Elland Road outfit will change the Seagulls’ stance with an improved offer.
Were Brighton correct to refuse £22m for Ben White?
He told Football Insider: “He has had one season in the Championship. Brighton were not even bothered before that. They are holding Ben White to ransom because of one good season.
“A great football player but it is not like he has been playing in the top flight, where you can command a fee like Nathan Ake. Right now, £22million for a player they have not even used is a good deal. It is a fair price for everybody. They need to be realistic.
“I am sure Ben White would love to come to Leeds United and carry on where he left off this year. He feels settled at the club, he likes the lads at the club.
“We need Ben White. It might be a case of an initial £22million and we rise it to £27million if we stay in the Premier League – that could be a goer. That might be tempting to them.”
It is understandable why Whelan would want White back at Leeds as they prepare for their return to the Premier League. The 22-year-old recorded match averages of 2.8 successful headers, 2.5 interceptions and 1.6 successful tackles, along with passing accuracy of 84.5% (as per WhoScored). He was in the Whites’ top two for the former two metrics, while no player with more than six league starts had a better passing success rate (as per WhoScored).
Also, as the pundit pointed out, he had struggled for recognition at Brighton prior to his loan spell at Elland Road, where he has flourished.
However, it must not be forgotten that White is the Seagulls’ player and therefore it is their right to do what they feel is best for him. Judging by the magnificent season that he has had for Leeds, it is only natural that his parent club will want to keep him and will not be pressed into selling him for less than they feel he is worth – particularly now that the Yorkshire club are direct Premier League rivals.
Whelan also name-checked Ake, who last week completed a £41m move from Bournemouth to Manchester City. The Dutchman posted match averages of 2.1 successful headers, 1.2 interceptions and 1.1 successful tackles in 2019/20, lower than White for each of those metrics. Therefore, it should come as no great surprise that Brighton value the 22-year-old so highly, and even Whelan’s suggested offer of £27m might be insufficient to persuade the Seagulls to part with such a promising asset.
Brighton fans, were you vexed by Whelan’s accusations about White being held to ransom? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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