… White Is Mikel Arteta’s Third Signing Of The Summer
After weeks of speculative reportage, Arsenal have officially announced the arrival of defender Ben White from Brighton. White who is a centre back signed a five-year contract with the Gunners. According to Sportsmail the new Gunner agreed a £50million fee with the Seagulls to snap up the highly rated 23-year-old earlier this month after backing up his fine loan spell with Leeds with another impressive campaign for Brighton last season.
He is Mikel Arteta’s third senior signing of the summer after sealing deals for full back Nuno Tavares from Benfica and midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht. The England international has been handed the No 4 shirt, previously given to William Saliba, who will be spending this season on loan at Marseille after struggling to earn the trust of Arteta.
Speaking about his move, White told Arsenal’s website: ‘Obviously I’ve known for quite a while and it’s taken longer than I thought it would, but I’m buzzing to be here.’ He added: ‘I don’t think I needed too much convincing. Obviously, Arsenal speaks for itself and I spoke to the gaffer a number of times during the summer. I got good vibes and the way the gaffer wants to play; I think I can produce quality in this team and hopefully get Arsenal back.
White’s agent Alex Levack said the huge move was a just reward for the 23-year-old. ‘I could not be prouder of a more genuine and hardworking individual than Ben. He deserves all the plaudits, and I cannot wait to see what the future brings’, he said. Gunner’s boss Arteta meanwhile added: ‘Ben was a top target for us and it’s great that we’ve completed his signing.
‘Ben has been educated with two very good clubs, Brighton and Leeds, in recent seasons. He has benefitted well from two very good coaching set-ups and has shown with both Brighton and on loan with Leeds what a strong talent he is.
‘Ben is an intelligent defender who is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and his style fits perfectly with us. And of course, he is still young, so his age and profile fits with what we are building here. We are all looking forward to Ben being central to our future long-term plans.’
White (middle) with Mikel Arteta (left) and Arsenal Technical Director, Eduardo César Daud Gaspar simply known as Edu during White’s unveiling
Technical director Edu also said: ‘Ben has been a key target this summer. He has so many qualities which make us so excited he’s joining us. ‘Ben’s a young English player with a great future. He’s very strong defensively, good on the ball with a great passing range. We’re delighted Ben’s signed, and we look forward to him growing with us.’
The Gunners confirmed he would now take part in training with his new team-mates ahead of the weekend’s game against Chelsea, but it remains to be seen if he will be involved in the pre-season friendly as part of The Mind Series. White, who made his name playing on loan with Leeds United in the Championship in 2019-20, made 39 appearances for Brighton last term after being thrown straight back into Graham Potter’s squad following his stand-out spell at Elland Road.
He ensured the team stayed in the Premier League once again and helped keep 12 clean sheets and earned a call-up to England’s preliminary Euro 2020 squad. He didn’t end up making the final cut of 26 players but was a late call-up after an injury to right back Alexander Trent-Arnold. He did not feature at the competition and had been enjoying some time off in Mykonos before returning home to complete the biggest move of his career.
White underwent his medical during the week before being officially unveiled as an Arsenal player. White started his career with Southampton before being released aged 16 and joining Brighton in 2014. He was loaned out three times before getting his first team shot – and was playing in League Two with Newport County as recently as 2018. Arsenal have been eager to bolster their back line after David Luiz left on a free transfer and Saliba was sent out on loan again, and White will be hopeful of nailing down a regular spot under boss Arteta.
A poor season saw the team finish in eighth place, although they actually had the third-best defensive record in the division, with just 39 let in – and the presence of White can give them an even more solid foundation to build upon. The Gunners are still hopeful of strengthening their defensive unit further and are targeting Sheffield United keeper Aaron Ramsdale.