Do Ben White’s stats prove that he was a bargain buy for Arsenal?

Giving Benjamin White his Flowers by Taku

Paying £50 million for a relatively inexperienced defender, from a recently promoted club is rarely ever a bargain, even when so called ‘British Tax’ is taken into consideration. However, with every passing match, it is increasingly looking like Edu and his team may have made out like bandits.

Suffice to say, there were a fair number of skeptics who—quite reasonably—questioned the wisdom of spending such a large amount of money on a defender who was, and perhaps still is, largely unproven. This article will go into the reasons why Benny Blanco is well on his way to proving the skeptics wrong.

Whilst it is important to take an insightful look into his statistics to further back this claim, it is worth mentioning the eye-test. And as the adage goes, ‘do not lie to your eyes.’

Whether it has been teaming up with Saka to torment Tottenham’s left-hand side with fantastic ball control, line-breaking passing, and intelligent movement; strategically sinister little trips to nip a potential counterattack in the bud on a couple of occasions; or throwing his body in the way of Reid’s stinging shot heading for the bottom corner, he has quietly become one of our most consistently exceptional players. All this, by the way whilst playing ‘out of position’.

The stats hold no argument against this fact.

Ben White’s average pass completion of ~87% places him in the 90th percentile as a fullback, and the 87th percentile amongst outfield players. His 3.27 expected assists put him in the top 18% of creative players in the league. Not to mention that he is yet to make an error leading to a goal, has only been dribbled past 8 times this season, and ranks in at least the top 20% for tackles and blocks in the league.

This is not to say that there is no room for improvement. Although all these stats are impressive, they can all still be improved upon. Also, he does not make as many interceptions as he should for a high pressing team (0.78 per game). His 14 aerial duels won are less than half of other fullbacks playing for elite teams like, Dalot, Cancelo, and Trippier as well.

But at 25, he will only improve on what are already elite levels of performance. He continues to develop into the quintessential archetype of a modern defender; technically and tactically versatile, athletic, and a willing and wily applicant of the dark arts—all traits of a world class defender.

Dare I say, Brighton may already be wishing they charged us more.


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  1. Fair points. It certainly doesn’t look a terrible deal and may even be a very good one, time will tell.

    If we win the PL with him playing most games it will look a great deal. On the other hand, if he spends a year out injured or with a loss of form, it will look worse.

  2. Ben’s interception stats could improve somewhat as tackling is in the words of the great Paulo Maldini the result of having “already made a mistake”, but maybe a full back makes more tackles than a central defender as they often have to face a seriously quick opponent who’s got beyond them, something I’ve noticed with Saka getting fouled so much. His heading isn’t so very important now that he’s moved out of the centre position, but his error leading to a goal and dribbled passed stats are very impressive for someone who’s basically still learning the right-back position, so I’d say he’s excellent value at £50 million.

  3. He’s perfect for the inverted RB role, because of his good playmaking ability and he has a decent stature/ pace for an RB. 50 M sounded reasonable for a 23-year-old homegrown defender with great stats at that time, but I don’t think he’s irreplaceable

  4. Last season I wasn’t impressed ,this season a complete turnaround for me and probably been in our top 3 players this season ,obviously the change in position as bought about better fortunes for him in a position he played at Brighton on the right in a back 3 .
    I think he was bought in for his likeness to David Luiz for his passing out the back skills but I didn’t see much of that last season .
    Really impressed with him this season though .

    1. Same, completely agree.
      In terms of value, it’s difficult to call any defender a bargain at 50m, but it’s difficult to care when the player plays well. I don’t think he’s a bargain (realistically, better players have always been bought for far less – wenger’s best sides were built on that), but white is looking to be a good buy.

      1. @Davi times change you cant compare the current market to what wenger paid 20 yrs ago. In a market where Cucurella goes for 65 mil, fofana 70 mil, Emerson Royale 35mil(?), Antony 90 mil, Grealish 100 mil! Wan Bisaka 50 mil! 50 mil for a player that can play CB,RB, and CDM is a bargain in my book.

        1. Cucurella was a probably a bargain when Brighton signed him, so was Bissouma (£15m each I think). They also signed mac allister for 8m caicedo for 5m and mitoma for 3m. Robertson for Liverpool (around 8m) is probably one of the most well known, relatively recent examples, and our own martinelli famously cost something similar. Those are the sorts of signings wenger made in the past.
          It’s still possible to sign players of a similar quality to white for far far less (you just have to really do your homework and be willing to take a risk), so I find it difficult to call him a bargain.
          Just because clubs made mistakes recently, it doesn’t mean white is a bargain at 50m. White simply wasn’t a mistake.

  5. Because of the inflation in new player signings currently being experienced in the transfer windows market. The signing of Ben White at the time Arsenal signed him can be said to be a bagain signing in comparison to the signing fee being paid now to sign a new player at the transfer market of Ben White’s top level quality stature.
    But I do remember as many Gooners on here commented against his signing then. Criticising Arteta for misplaced priority signing of a new rightfullback instead of to have signed a new top rated holding midfielder according to them.
    Nevertheless, as Arteta’s coached Arsenal has obviously improved Ben White’s game quality of playing at the top level. I think there are still rooms lacking in his game to improved on them as been highlighted above by some commenters
    So therefore, Ben White should be opened to improtved on his game for Arsenal continuously. And improved on it.

  6. £ 50 million for 5 years….that’s £ 10 million / year……is that a bargain for Ben White….?
    Especially when we win trophies within those 5 years
    I think so….!

  7. Ben White is valued more than the £50 mil in my opinion now, I certainly would take him over Maquire.

    He’s a ball playing defender and a think his positioning is good too as well

  8. Benny Blanco, for me, is shoe in to be in the EPL team of the season. Nobody, I mean, absolutely nobody comes close. And I hope he plays and retires at Arsenal so that he can replace the insufferable Gary Neville as EPL’s greatest ever RB. Oh god, please.

  9. The deal for BW was not a bargain. However, given the circumstances and the high values attributed to British born players in the PL it was a fair deal.
    Overall, up till now, it has been a good deal.
    At the time there was some unreasonable criticism of the deal including some from commentators to this site.

  10. This man showed us that he is willing to play anywhere for the team when he puts on the jersey .. he deserves to be called a gooner!

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