Ben White compared to other Premier League defenders
As reported earlier, Arsenal have reached an agreement in principle for Brighton star Ben White. The England international will undergo his medical at London Colney on July 26th, when he returns from his delayed holidays.
Although the Gunners faithful are excited about the 23-year-old, their major concern is the fee that is being involved. In my opinion, Arsenal fans should look at it in a more positive way.
Arsenal certainly have the funds to sign every priority position this summer, most of which will be raised from player sales. Until now the North London outfit have hardly sold anyone for a huge amount but they are still willing to splash the cash on Ben White and Manuel Locatelli (90m combined).
Say whatever you want, but it only says that Arsenal are indeed going to be ‘ruthless’ this summer.
But let’s move on and look at the numbers of Ben White, when he is compared against other Premier League proven players.
Below, we have compared White with Ruben Dias, Harry Maguire, Antonio Rudiger, Wesley Fofana and Arsenal’s Gabriel. We have also taken into account Virgil Van Dijk of the 2019/20 season.
|Ben White||Ruben Dias||Harry Maguire||Antonio Rudiger||Wesley Fofana||Gabriel||Virgil Van Dijk -19/20|
|Pass completion %||83.2%||93.5%||89%||90.8%||88.2%||86%||90.5%|
|Passes into Final Third||3.13||5.26||5.73||5.84||4.46||3.70||5.97|
|Passes into Penalty Area||0.56||0.28||0.24||0.21||0.04||0.14||0.24|
Although White’s above metrics don’t look too attractive, it is worth considering that he played as the right-sided centerback in a 3-4-3 formation. He had more license to move forward and often played risky passes. That is the reason behind his poor pass completion rate as compared to others.
With a back four that Mikel Arteta prefers, he will also be expected to be more involved in the team plays.
Van Dijk’s numbers does not make him a bad defender. It just means that Jurgen Klopp does not like his defenders to get involved while his team is out of possession. My point: looking at stats merely is not a rational decision.
Moving onto our main focus, White’s defensive figures are very impressive. He is good at tackling and also has pace which can hugely benefit Arsenal.
Although he does not boast an aerial presence, having Gabriel beside him will offset the few weaknesses the 23yo has in his game. Both can complement each other for several years to come, and Arsenal will be excited to see how they develop together.
This is going to prove to be a mega signing. Really excited about this one. pic.twitter.com/upIWPl3ici
— evan 》 (@afcevan) July 16, 2021
|Carries into Final Third||1.04||0.54||1.68||1.32||1.51||0.27||0.53|
If given the room, White can surge into the final third of the opposition to add up the numbers. Arsenal would have a better time breaking down teams who sit in a low block, with the Brighton star in their ranks.
Ben White to Arsenal is a deal that suits all parties I think. Brighton get a massive £50m fee for a player playing in L2 three years ago. Arsenal get one of the best prospects in English football. White gets a chance to help bring the good times back to a great club
— Tom Barclay (@TomBarclay_) July 16, 2021
There are several aspects to Ben White’s game that definitely needs working on. But given his age and that he played for a bottom half team, impacted a lot of his metrics that we mentioned above.
Gabriel, Ben White and even William Saliba have a chance of becoming one of the most robust and flexible back lines in the Premier League. It might take a few years’ time but I definitely believe in the trio.
While White is 23, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga are both 21. The Gunners are definitely looking to make their already young squad even younger, which is a positive sign. They are making hard, risky decisions, but one that can have high rewards too.
Last season, Mikel Arteta’s squad was the fifth youngest in the league and it would be intriguing to see how young they will end up being after the transfer window shuts on August 31, roughly 45 days from now.
Regardless, what are your thoughts on White’s stats against defenders from other top teams?