The reasons why Arsenal should sign Ben White from Brighton

Signing Ben White from Brighton makes sense

After The Athletic reported that Arsenal were preparing a “concrete offer” for Brighton and Hove Albion star Ben White on Sunday evening, the news was clearly not welcomed by some section of the fanbase.

To construct one solid question out of their worries was, “What will happen to William Saliba?” Although that concern is natural, the fuss about the Frenchman should be limited to a degree.

Laying a good groundwork by signing good centerbacks go a long way in a team performing well during the campaign. Take Liverpool for example. The Merseyside club headed to the 2020/21 season somewhat short of experienced center halves.

After Virgil Van Dijk suffered an injury against Everton in October, Jurgen Klopp’s men lost their way in the league campaign. They made two panic buys in Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak to fill the numbers.

However, that was not enough, as the team failed miserably in their bid for a title defense.

If you look at the center back options at other top Premier League clubs, you will get more idea as to why a good team should head into the season with at least three sound centerbacks. Manchester City have four CBs in Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake, Ruben Dias and John Stones.

While their Manchester rivals boast Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe. Despite owning a decent bunch of defenders, the Red Devils are keen to add one more body with highly coveted Sevilla defender Jules Kounde consistently being linked.

Chelsea also have a strong centerback squad. Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen are all vastly experienced defenders of international pedigree.

On the other hand, Arsenal had David Luiz (who was 34), Gabriel (who had a debut campaign last season), Pablo Mari (who was decent at most) and Rob Holding (who is no better than a squad player).

Calum Chambers can also be added to the list, but he cannot be expected to play week in and week out at centerhalf next season.

With the addition of Ben White, Arsenal can boast three solid centerbacks in Gabriel, William Saliba and White, who can have the potential to be one of the best in the league in a few years’ time.

Considering the fact that William Saliba has played majority of matches as a left centerback for Nice as well as former club St. Etienne, the deal for White looks even more rational.

Mikel Arteta can also switch to a 3-4-3 formation, which could eventually bring out the best of the current crop. Gabriel can play on the left of the back three. Saliba can start from the middle and get more protection with White and Gabriel being on his either side, while Thomas Partey just in front of him.

Partey himself can benefit from a midfield pivot, while Bukayo Saka can be deployed as a left-wing back. To cut a long story short, Arteta can try several formations, not just from game to game but in between matches too.

The Spaniard’s in-game management has been thrown under the bus several times. However, that might change if he has better players at his disposal.

Drawing up conclusions on White is short-sighted from the Arsenal fans because boasting three solid options at centerback will only help the Red and White in getting back to where they belong.

Yash Bisht

Tags ben white

64 Comments

        1. OZgooner, and so say I as well. Midfield is where the priorities should be for the available funding.
          By the way Yash, Thomas Partey is not a DM, but a box to box to box midfielder. A DM to play along side Partey should be number 1 priority.

          1. I completely agree a proper DM is what we need and MA settling on a CB’s pairing would go a long way in improving our defense that and a RB lastly is the author really comparing us to Chelsea Utd… financially??

          2. He obviously has many qualities. I personally want to see him in a double pivot (with Bissouma) with license to move forward occasionally.

  1. I think the worry is that we could spend the best part of £50m on White despite having far bigger issues in midfield; Odegaard and Ceballos are gone, Torreira, Xhaka and Guendouzi are supposed to be leaving, probably AMN too. When African Cup of Nations arrives we’ll be saying goodbye to Elneny, Partey and potentially Bissouma. Which leaves Willock as our only player likely to be ready to start a PL match in the centre of the pitch, and he’s rather attack-minded.
    We also really need cover for Tierney, and there’s worries in the ‘keeper department as well as at right-back with Bellerin leaving.
    Not to mention all the other teams mentioned with multiple CBs are teams with European matches to give players additional game time. We could risk massive squad disharmony if we have up to four CBs not starting games, and its important to have a regular CB pairing.

    If we are going for White I think (/hope) it’s to play a 3-4-3 with Saliba in the middle of Gabriel and White, and for the young frenchman to have license to roam and support Partey, so the Ghanaian can move into attacking positions. But this still puts Mari and Holding (who themselves were arguably our most solid/consistent pairing this season gone) on the bench, Chambers too, and a question mark over Mavrapanos who like Saliba has been doing great on loan abroad.

    I want to have faith in the club, but with these horrid owners, the inexperienced duo of Edu and Arteta, I’m finding myself often scratching my head, especially in this transfer window.

    Rumours of Aoaor for £25m, Sabitzer £15-20m, Onana £2-7m/Donnarumma free, Calhanoglu free, Daka £27m, etc and we’re going to throw £50m at White? In turn potentially throwing Saliba away in the process… I just don’t get it. If we do have money at least try and get those players who are better value for money and maybe throw in a Sosa, Zakaria, Celik/Emerson.
    Offload a few extra players like Willian, Nketiah, Nelson, Kolasinac, Runarrson, maybe even Leno and one of Lacazette/Aubameyang. Promote a few youth, as the likes of Azeez and Balogun have got to be edging closer to the first team, and we’ll need to the home-grown quota too.
    The fans all know this is the sort of rebuild we need, and most of us aren’t expecting it all to happen. If they could just try and aim for a proper rebuild, even if they were only 40-60% successful the fans would be happy to see that we’re on the right track, even 30% would offer most of us some hope.

    I really hope this project is going to explode onto the scene next season, like they said but it’s easy to see why so many of us are at best bewildered.

    1. This Is the cry of a true Gunner. You are very correct in your reasoning 💯%. How can they be thinking of big money options in areas we are not in much need of? All I sense is that there is a foul play somewhere. They have to buy big to have a substantial amount to steal. Remember the Pepe deal with Raul. Fraud in the pipeline. They are anti arsenal.

  2. Nice move from d Gunners!!
    But Bissouma of d same Brighton fc should be our First signing!!
    He is strong, quick-witted n can dictate play from d midfield just like Youri Tielemanns of Leceister fc/Belgium…
    He is d perfect partner for Thomas Partey!!
    I feel Neves is not aggressive enough n also Slow like Arteta in his playing days for us!!😏😒
    About Ben White, If we can, Let’s get him!!..🙂

  3. Not to say he isn’t a good centre back. But Arsenal need to spend there money in other areas.

    1. OZgooner, and so say I as well. Midfield is where the priorities should be for the available funding.
      By the way Yash, Thomas Partey is not a DM, but a box to box to box midfielder. A DM to play along side Partey should be number 1 priority.

      1. He plays as a DM for Arsenal.Arteta loves his 2 pivot to always sit back.

        Major reason why there were very few goals from midfield last season and Joe Willock should be sold.

        1. That’s where Arsenal (Arteta) has it wrong, in not playing to Partey’s strengths. Partnering him with a ball playing DM will greatly strengthen Arsenal’s midfield.

    2. Arsenal can swap Eddie Nketiah (or others such as AMN/Nelson) to make the deal even sweeter. Let’s see what happens

  4. Waste if energy and recourses when Arsenal already have five or six central defenders on their books and the potential of Saliba has yet to be untapped. Never thought the defence was as big an issue last season as some on this site claim more the fault of certain midfielders being unable to take control as well as a, lack of creativity and goal scoring opportunities.

    1. 👍 And no defensive midfielder of quality, so Partey or Xhaka expected to do too much!

  5. Signing a defender before a central midfielder will be crazy.

    CM
    LB
    GK
    RB
    AM

    For me, this is the preferred order of importance we need to fill. Any other positions like attacker, winger and Central defender will just be a bonus addition.

    If they don’t fill those 5 positions with quality this window, then I will count it as a failure

  6. If we sign another CB without giving our current crop a chance to earn a spot, I think my head will explode…if we were to allocate much-needed funds towards a player I’ve never noticed on the pitch, minus the fact that he’s the guy beside Lewis Dunk, before properly addressing our actual “needs”, it would be another clear indicator that the task at hand is simply too big for this management team

    of course most of the information being propagated is pure fabrication or speculative in nature, but even if only a small fraction of these rumours contain an ounce of truth, we appear to have no real definitive plan and this is going to be an incredibly long summer

    1. Arsenal is not in a position (financially or League table) to be able to waste existing player assets.

  7. Arsenal have five center backs, six if you count Mavropanos. If everyone leaves that we expect to leave (Xhaka, Torreira, Guendouzi, and Maitland-Niles) Arsenal will be left with two options in January, during AFCON, Azeez and Willock. I wouldn’t expect either to play the 6 in a 4-3-3 and I would be concerned if they formed a double pivot. Arsenal need to add two quality center mids going into next season. That’s probably at least a £60m hit to the transfer budget. Before they sign another central defender they also need to sign a right back (£30m), an attacking mid who can also play on the wing (£40m) and a backup goalkeeper (£10m), then if they £50m left over, they can sign White. They can’t sign him first and have to compromise on the other positions because they run out of funds,

  8. We have 5 CBs as it is, and quality as well. With less chance of rotation as no European football, we don’t need any more.

  9. there is always 1001 reasons to sign a player

    we need experience CBs too

    Saliba 20yo, Mpvarnos 22yo, Gabriel 23yo, Holding is 25yo, Chambers 25 yo

    They are very talented but lack the experience

    1. clueless take, as per usual, the player in question is only 23 years old so maybe you can explain to me how this individual who’s younger, or the same age as, everyone except Saliba…btw Mavro is 23 and you didn’t even include Mari in your misinformed list, likely to further your misguided agenda since he’s the eldest CB

  10. Will Davies @£50m cost not be too much for Arsenal to born and pay to acquire him this summer if that’s the Brighton’s final price?

    But is Davies such a top quality CB above the current Arsenal’s 5 in-house CBs of: Chambers, Holding, Mari, Maglhaes and the returnee Saliba? Well, if he is as the article writer has said. Then, Arsenal signing him this summer to improved on their somewhat a little above average defence last season is worth looking into by Arsenal for their considerations to sign him.

    For, Arsenal having a 10 man defence-line personnel i.e. 2 RBs, 6 CBs and 2LBs for next season’s campaign is in absolute order. As this should enhance their defensive options and cover as the season pans on. Therefore, yes! Arsenal could sign Ben Davies.

    But his expensive cost price could stop AFC from signing him this summer. In that case then, why wouldn’t Arsenal go for a cheaper option CB signing of Tosin Adarabioyo instead who could bring to Arsenal the same defensive quality and probably more than Davies will bring to the table for Arsenal this summer. Or alternatively, bring back Mavropanous.

  11. Sorry. I ment to say Ben White but not Ben Davies as I’ve typed in error.

    1. Signing White cannot be our priority this season because we have enough center backs. Strengthening the DM with talented and experienced players will surely stable our defence. Signing a quality no. 10 with enough experience, a right back, a goalkeeper, must be our priority. We enough attacking midfielders in our rank in Pepe, Matinelli, saka, and Nelson to contend with, but adding more quality in the position with players like Zaha, Raheem Sterling will give us more options in attack.

  12. Only reason i’ll welcome White is cause he can play in the DM position very well which is one of the reasons Southgate included him in the England squad after Arnold’s injury.
    At least he can partner with Partey.
    But the Brighton man we need is Bissouma

  13. Can Arteta bring out the best in Been White? Is Ben White better than all our defenders?. We were all hailing Gabriel signing then like we have signed a world class defender that will solve our defence issues, let’s face the fact, if we have a solid midfield, our defence will be protected. Meanwhile can we trust Arteta to bring the best out of our players?

  14. What’s the fuse with Ben white? I will like to ask one question; are current CBs good enough to walk straight into any top team in EPL?…..and by extension, is Ben White good enough to do the same? I doubt it.

    We want to genuinely compete, we need to try match(or at least get close) the quality of our rivals. I know this requires huge investment but this is what we have to do, our rivals are not slowing down either.

    What if we sell Holding, then try as much as possible to bring in Varane who has a year left on his contract at madrid and refuses to extend it. Varane 28 and we can get him for less than £50 million. Then bring back Saliba to serve as his understudy?
    If you aspire to be like an eagle you can’t behave like a duck.

  15. Some of us flagged up White as a potential signing when he commenced his loan spell with Leeds 2 years ago.We have missed the boat, and in any event we do not need another CB at a time when we need to completely revitalise our midfield as a priority and have to find a natural back up for Tierney.Saliba and Mavroponas should be given an opportunity to show what they are made of in pre season matches.They are both quick and physically powerful which should stand them in good stead in the EPL.I have severe doubts concerning Gabriel for a number of reasons, but I sincerely hope he proves me wrong.

    1. 👍 Grandad, Arsenal miss so many boats they have been arrested for loitering around the wharves.

  16. I’m all for signing Ben white and sticking him straight in with Saliba. Yes Holding was our best cb last season but overall hes not good enough for a club with top 4 expectations. Gabriel will always be too slow on the turn and Mari is just meh. Mavranpos may come good but we will have to wait and see. Onana,White,Celik, Bissouma/Neves and Aoura would represent good business for the club.

  17. We need to consider signing a playmaker at this time as we are clearly lacking one in this position!

  18. I may like to back this person with his saying;that we need to get a playmaker.Our last playmaker was Sanchez.So,i may urge them to consider the Raheen Sterling deal and also someone who will represent Ozil by always filling the cup of Auba.

  19. Arteta has wanted to get rid of William Saliba for some time. This is not some footballing decision, it is Arteta’s ego not wanting any Emery signings to rain on his parade.
    Although Arsene Wenger stayed on too long and should have left earlier, he was a father figure to so many players and it’s amazing how many TRUSTED him implicitly. I would not trust Arteta an iota. He has no wisdom, is unable to relate to his players, and has ego grudges. Purely my opinion. Arteta is infecting his player choices because of selfish ego led decisions. Saliba has been a success at Niece, and has all the hallmarks of a top player. The selfish heart of Arteta cannot bear that Emery’s boy will succeed. Unlike Wenger, Arteta does not love his players and will probably fail for that reason. They will never give 100% for Arteta, because nobody will trust him.

    1. Sean, one would hope Arteta is a bigger man than that, but his treatment of Saliba this transfer window and next season, will be the indicator.

  20. Everyone above has said! Now let’s hope the people that matter and make these decisions are on the same page… we do not need a cb right now and not one that’ll cost 50 mill. we desperately need to strengthen others areas and I agree that signing bissouma will go a long way in getting the arsenal fans excited. For “fuck sake” let’s do this sooner rather that later as each day passes we all get I little more deflated, let’s not get to the point where we just don’t care anymore. Does the club really care about our fan base? Have they been listening to us regarding not waiting until the last day to wrap deals up? I’m of to ask edu on Twitter

  21. Sorry Yash, I don’t think that there is a single point made in your piece that I personally agree with

    That’s not to say we won’t sign Ben White, we might, just as we might sign any of the 30 or so other “tip offs” we’ve seen already in this window

    Arteta just might not fancy Saliba, he inherited him and he was already on loan, perhaps he doesn’t see him as the right fit for what he is trying to put together, Ben White might be the right fit, we don’t know, any new signing is a gamble no matter how much research you put in and how logical it seems

    By the way I wouldn’t write Chambers off, if memory serves he was playing well in central defence and we were on a decent little run as a team when he suffered that really bad injury against Chelsea in Arteta’s early days. I think Arteta then only tried Holding in Chambers’s absence but I think he may have been pleasantly surprised by his consistency in an inconsistent team last term but I could be remembering that all wrong

    As a footnote to your piece I seem to recall Villa putting 7 past Liverpool BEFORE Van Dijk’s injury last season, nobody’s perfect!

    1. Calum Chambers is an important squad player, with his ability to play RB (the position he played when signed from Southampton), CB and DM (the position he played on loan when he won Fulham’s player of the season).

  22. Emery was Arsenal Manager when Saliba signed but he went straight out on loan and never actually played in an Emery team, at the time Emery said he was “one for the future”, admittedly Emery probably thought he would be part of that future

    Ceballos came in on loan at the same time, played a lot for Emery, played a lot for Arteta

    Not sure why Arteta would have a bee in his bonnet about Emery anyway

  23. What shreiked out to me as a staggering omission from an otherwise well put article, was the complete lack of mention of any FEE for White.

    Let me inject the crushingly realistic name of KROENKE into this debate and that single word says it all really! Well it does to THIS REALIST anyway!

    1. jon, as much as we dislike Kroenke and KS&E it is difficult to support the argument, that they have not funded transfers. Albeit they have not financed at the levels of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea; however the issue has been that their Board and senior managerial appointees have consistently mismanaged Arsenal’s financial and player assets. Players have been allowed to run their contracts down and leave on free transfers, players have been bought high and sold low and available transfer funds have not been targeted to address the positions of greatest need.

  24. You seem to forget that Arsenal competes with the likes of Crystal Palace and Leeds when it comes to squad depth, not Chelsea and Man City.

    Arsenal we all remember is dead and buried, never to return. You can visit its grave at the Highbury real estate.

    So how about we start thinking about loans and free agents that can bring us the glory of the Conference league?

    In other words, forget White, he’s already overpriced for one midtable club.

    1. Hmmm great post OnceGreat, we do love a bit of positivity about the place!

      Did you forget to take your antidepressants today?

    2. One must always live in hope. I just worry Kroenke has seen how much money Norwich City earned from its “yo-yo” trip to the Championship and back.

    3. I took the red pill, mate. And soon enough, every Arsenal fan will.

      As if you don’t know who owns the club and as if you don’t know the club can only buy after they sell this season.

      So tell me, how can we afford White when it will take selling up to 4 fringe players to afford him? Also, if he does well at the euros, add 10M to his current price.

  25. And wit Gabriel, Holding, Chambers, Mari, Saliba – are we not stacked yet? Why not bring Mavropanos back if needed? Wasting money on average talent has been the signature of Arsenal in last 3-4 years. Avoid it for once, go cheap and young so if the player fails its not a big loss

    1. Finally someone with some sense and club knowledge.
      Beyond Mari, Gabriel and Holding we have Saliba, Mavropanos and Ballard – probably all better players than White, focusing on last season alone.

      And unlike Liverpool and Machester City we don’t play a single game beyond the PL and a handful of domestic cup ties, so we don’t need 6 CBs, not even 5.

      Whoever prefers a new signing (Coady, White) over Saliba and Mavropanos knows shit about defenders, unfamiliar with the players defensive statistics, just want to see Arsenal splashing the cash.

      1. @PBarany, I personally want to see Saliba and Mavrapanos next season. I wrote this article to tell both sides of the story.

  26. I don’t think funding would be a problem if Arteta wanted White, agreeing a sensible valuation could be an issue if things got that far

    There’s a few good reasons why this might just be another kite being flown, one not mentioned yet is that Brighton might fancy a go at top half of the table themselves, keeping White, Bissouma and Lamptey, who was another one of theirs tipped to come to us before injury ruled out his season

    They might even come knocking on our door for a striker to help them with those ambitions

  27. i don think our defenders are good. Our defensive record last season is more down to the conservative style of play that lost us many games by just a few goals. That said, our midfield is just so poor that we should spend the bulk of our money there, and on fullbacks. I dont believe for a second Arsenal have a large budget this summer. We should not prioritise a CB.

  28. Come on we don’t need to buy another CB we have loads, why waste money there instead of concentrating on more concerned areas of pitch like mid plus he is not going to come cheap. We have better pairing in Saliba and Gabi if and only if Arteta can stop with his stupid mind set and ego. You can not just discard players without giving them a chance just because you don’t like them specially the ones which are rated as talented.

    1. 👍 Logic, as I have stated previously, the current management of Arsenal wouldn’t know a good footballer if they tripped over them, particularly those right under their noses.

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