Arsenal are interested in Brighton & Hove Albion’s breakout star Ben White, per reports. The 23-year old is primarily a right centerback in either a 2 or a 3 and can play right back or defensive midfield. His flexibility and strong season earned him a spot on England’s roster for Euro 2020. The usual names — Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham — are also interested in a move for the £50M-rated Englishman.
This one doesn’t pass the smell test, mostly because of the price tag. I don’t think Arsenal have that kind of money this summer for a centerback, and given the other teams in for White, the Gunners aren’t winning a bidding war. Sidenote: I also don’t like him at that number, it’s at least £10M over where I’d price him.
Right centerback is not a position of dire need for Arsenal, and Mikel Arteta would be better off reinforcing / improving other areas of the pitch. But perhaps that’s wishful thinking on my part. The Gunners do seem determined to sign another right-sided centerback despite having William Saliba, who they paid nearly £30M for, Rob Holding, and Calum Chambers at the position.
Ben White does seem to fit the profile of the type of centerback that Mikel Arteta wants in his system. His passing and dribbling numbers are roughly on par with those of David Luiz; White has a better success rate on dribbles but completes about 2% fewer of his passes. The major difference between the pair is defensively; White actually rates well (slash at all) in pressures and blocks and is above average in tackles and interceptions compared to other centerbacks in the Big 5 leagues whereas Luiz is an absolute train wreck statistically in those categories, like, single-digit percentile bad.
But as I said, I suspect it’s moot because I don’t think Arsenal is a realistic landing spot for White. And while right centerback might be a place where Mikel Arteta would like to strengthen his side, it shouldn’t be (and hopefully isn’t) the top priority in this particular window.