Former Premier League Golden Boot winner Kevin Phillips believes that Brighton may not be too keen to allow Ben White to leave after having a “fantastic” year on loan at Leeds.
The 22-year-old defender played every single minute of the Whites’ Championship-winning season as they ended their 16-year exile from the Premier League and had previously hinted that he would be open to spending another year at Elland Road.
However, Phillips reckons that White’s parent club will not countenance selling him permanently and could even be reluctant to loan him out any more. Speaking to Football Insider about the possibility of the centre-back returning to Leeds, the ex-Sunderland striker said: “It is going to be a tough one. He has been a fantastic player for them this season.
“This all depends on how ambitious Leeds are going to be. I am reading reports that they are looking at Cavani and Ibrahimovic and if that is true, blimey, they are ambitious.
“If they could tie White down it would be a massive coup for the football club because, as we have said all season, he just gets better and better and better. A great goal against Charlton as well.
“A second loan is an option but I am sure Brighton would have something to say about that.”
It’s not difficult to see why Phillips feels that Brighton are unlikely to readily allow White to leave again, given the season that he has had with Leeds.
The 22-year-old won 2.8 headers per game in the Championship in 2019/20, along with recording match averages of 1.6 successful tackles, 2.7 clearances and 2.5 interceptions. Aside from his defensive nous, he has also been composed in possession, averaging 56.2 passes per game and finding a team-mate with 84.6% of those. [via WhoScored]
His record for aerial duels matches that of Lewis Dunk at Brighton and he also has a better tackling record than the 28-year-old. Furthermore, White’s interceptions-per-game ratio is superior to everyone in Graham Potter’s squad this season, while only three Seagulls players had a higher passing success rate. [via WhoScored]
Will Ben White be a Brighton player next season?
Such is Brighton’s desire to keep him on their books that, according to Football Insider, they have placed a £35m price tag on him to try and ward off potential suitors such as Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City.
As Phillips has hinted, there seems no way that the Seagulls would be willing to let him leave permanently, while even another loan spell may not appeal to the Sussex club given how well White has performed in recent months.
Brighton fans, what did you make of Phillips’ verdict on White’s immediate future? Have your say by commenting below!
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