Will Arsenal have to wait for Ben White to reach his prime?

Is Ben White Another Nicolas Pepe?

Maybe Arsenal are just not meant to be huge-spenders. Out of all the players we have spent large amounts of money acquiring, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil have been relative successes. The duds outnumber the stars and we may have repeated this dastardly trick with Benjamin White.

Let it be clear: I was an advocate for Ben White’s signing. We needed his ballplaying qualities. Especially with Bernd Leno still at the club. I have been an advocate for his signing since his stint with Leeds in the Championship. In fact, I am still happy about his signing. But let it also be clear: I am not in charge of properly spending the millions of money that Arsenal have to spend and I don’t have to do as much due diligence.

The first thing is that every backline needs leadership and organization. Between Gabriel, Chambers, Leno and White, there are no leaders. This is an intangible and immeasurable quality. You can’t quite quantify it with data. It won’t show up in the StatsBomb radars. It is something you pick out with your eyes. We lack leadership at the back and Tierney who has it mostly spends his time going forward. Maybe when you want to buy a 50M premium defender, you want to make sure that they can command the backline?

The next thing about Ben White that gives me the jitters is that he is not an assertive defender, especially when the ball is in the air. Part of the reason for our defensive record and setpiece defending last season was that the duo of David Luiz and Gabriel were aerial monsters. They just win everything you throw at them. Pablo Mari was supposed to help and in fact quite did his part but it was not enough. Perhaps, the return of Gabriel will help our defence more? It is just curious that we spent that much money on a defender who really doesn’t head a ball.

The last thing that concerns me about White is the athletic dominance or lack of it. Gabriel was a welcome player in this regard. He could give Wilfred Zaha as much as he wants all day long. He was really a defensive monster. It seems like we have decided to go for elegance over dominance.

So what were the recruitment department thinking? Here’s what they were thinking: Ben White is 23 years old, which is quite young for a defender. He can be reasonably expected to improve. And I know where they expect him to improve: athleticism and aerial dominance. He has not filled out his frame yet. It will happen over the next 2-3 years. Ben White will be stronger for sure. And in the air, he will learn how to properly jump for a ball. He will learn how to use his size and win the ball. And in the meantime, Gabriel Maghalaes will hold his hand.

Ben White is a notorious fast-learner. That is how he got here at this age. Serious improvement is likely to happen with him. We bought him for the future. Is that smart enough? I don’t know. United bought the almost-finished product in Maguire at 25. In two seasons, they now have a player in his prime. For us, we will need to wait 3 or 4 seasons. In the mean time, you can enjoy his ballplaying. That is why we bought him.


Agboola Israel

Tags ben white


  1. Odegaard done deal, 30 mil plus add ons, fully vaccinated so if registered by mid day friday can play against chelsea on sunday. Medical already completed 👍

    1. Would like to see him face the Chavs, Rory, especially after seeing this:
      Martin Ødegaard played more passes into the box (63) and created more chances (20) than any other Arsenal player managed after his PL debut last season — despite starting just 9/18 games.
      Let’s bounce back on Sunday 😉

    1. People tend to underestimate the important part played by his teammates at Brighton he sadly won’t have the same midfield to cover him(ie: Bissouma) or the experienced tall very physical and good in the air defenders like Dunk Duff..

      1. Excellent point about Bissouma and Dunk. Both are defensive players that are actually solid at defending!

        They tended to do the dirty work, while White only occasionally so, but mostly finessed the ball to midfield, which he is excellent at doing.

  2. If 50 mil premier league experienced cb will take time to adapt then the scout and the man behind this signing should be kicked out of the club asap

  3. No, because White isn’t a foreigner

    He’d likely thrive in a three-CB formation or if he plays in a different role. But if we don’t want to try him with those alternative options, he should be sold next summer

  4. White to me looks like a chambers duplicate. Bit of a rabbit in the headlights when it comes to crosses. I didn’t realise he was such a shortie?

    I’m just wondering if it would be worth grabbing boateng or Cahill for a season on a free, to play 3 at the back and bring white and Gabriel through alongside them?

    We could then go wing backs which would suit Maitland-Niles, Bellerin, Tierney and Tavares much more.

    1. Yes, his stature and skills are similar to Chambers’

      If we play with a three-CB formation, we won’t need a new CB. Because Tierney, Kolasinac, Elneny, Xhaka and Chambers can play as CB

  5. The times we have shouted for Arsenal to spend 100 mill or so and they eventually do.
    Problem is its on White and Odegaard 🤔☹😲

    White is totally the wrong C/Back for us.
    Without better players around him he’ll just get dominated time and time again.

    Odegaard is just a dull signing who will be another passenger in most games.

    And to put the icing on the cake we will probably waste money on signing Ramsdale.
    A bloody poor keeper if there ever was one.

    1. I agree with your second part ,but white for me could be a good signing if played in the right formation .
      Odegaard 🙄
      Ramsdale if true 🙄

    2. another underwhelming day in the recruitment track wreck that is this club…if it’s not about us clamoring for backing, it’s our total mismanagement of funds given…only this club can fail on both accounts…let the shoehorning bonanza begin in full earnest…enjoy the wide side ESR, which is no doubt a major reason why Arteta’s passive aggressive campaign against Auba started shortly after Ode’s arrival last season…if I was opposing teams I would just station a defender at top left-side corner of the box and just patiently wait for Pepe, Saka and Ode to make their inevitable way to that spot…release the senseless crosses!!!

  6. *Well, I need to say something regarding your Ben White assessments* Ben White has been playing extremely well in his former team this is the reason Arsenal went all out for his signature. By playing just one competitive game for Arsenal I think you’re too quick to judge him, being the fact he plays in the same league but remember is a different team entirely. if you think something is wrong with the way he plays then I think you also need to look where/ how he was ask to play and with whom he plays at the defence.

  7. Going forward, I just wish we could finally switch to a back 3 and go with an attackminded team with this odegaard signing..

    Pepe……ESR…. Odegaard…Saka….

    Or we can put Pepe up top and draft in tavares …guy looks like a quality winger..

    Let’s see how the pundit manages all…I hope he doesn’t shift ESR wide again

  8. I think the current theme behind player signings is exactly that – Getting fairly young guys that have proven ability at the top level but with plenty of poterntial to get evern better and become real top players in the coming years. White, Lokanga, Tavares, and also Odegaard all fit that profile. And that’s a good thing, because it allows for steady improvement and growth as a team over the forthcoming few seasons.

    1. Exactly, and this is the foundation of any good rebuilding. Arteta will not be our coach for ever but this player will remain our core for the next 5-6yrs

  9. Ben White at 5ft 11in dominant in the air? Sorry, he’s no Fabio Cannavaro. He was bought for his technical skills to play out from the back which we are hopeless at.

  10. @ adajim…that’s my fear and reason I want a manager that can actually form a formidable young squad that would last and be successful together…

    Saliba,Guendouzi, mavropanos,torreira were signed with so much excitement added to our academy talents bellerin,Nelson,nketiah,AMN, Willock etc and they were all supposed to be here for the long haul as well…

    but we know how it’s all playing out…

    The future looks bright though as far as the pundit doesn’t ruin it…

    Let’s see if odegaard brings something different to the team next match

  11. I pray we have a fully fit squad for a long period of time this season.

    I will like to see this selection our next match against Chelsea –


    Smith. Odegaard. Saka.

    Xhaka. Lokonga.

    Tierney. Holding. White. Cedric.


    1. Yes S.J

      Cedric is such a great player. To me he’s a big team player, the way he runs up the field, the way he drifts into the CAM position, has a serious cross on him etc. I don’t see why most fans see him as a squad player, and also why many don’t like him because of his height.

      He’d start in a PSG, Bellerin would be 5th choice maybe, just like he is in Spain.

      Prime Carvajal in the current Arsenal would never be noticed from what I’ve read online about Cedric.

  12. I don’t see why fans are rubbishing Whitey. His pace, ball control and passing (especially weight of pass) are phenomenal.
    Put him in a Liverpool and he’ll literally vie for man of the match every match.

    Pepe will keep on losing the ball.

  13. Here’s a thought – let’s give him more than one game before writing him off in the short term?

  14. Size matters for CBs. White is not going to get any taller. As for the filling out his frame, he is 23 not 17.

    We spent 50 million on a CB who can dribble but lacks the physical attributes to ever be a dominating CB. White will work better in a back 3.

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