Arsenal have moved to bolster their defence with the signing of England international Ben White from Brighton and Hove Albion for a reported £50million fee.
White completed his move to the Emirates Stadium – which Brighton have confirmed is a club-record sale – on Friday after passing a medical.
The centre-back follows the signings of Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares for Mikel Arteta’s side ahead of the new Premier League season.
“Ben was a top target for us and it’s great that we’ve completed his signing,” Gunners boss Arteta said after securing White on a long-term contract – reported by Sky Sports to be a five-year deal.
“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.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 30, 2021
White had agreed a four-year deal with Brighton in 2020 after impressing on loan with Leeds United in the 2019-20 season.
The 23-year-old went on to establish himself as a key part of Graham Potter’s side, making 36 Premier League appearances last term.
His form was rewarded with a call up to England’s provisional squad for Euro 2020, with White then replacing the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man selection.
Though he did not make an appearance at the Euros, Arsenal have nevertheless committed to a huge outlay on the youngster. Mikel Arteta’s side are short at the back having allowed David Luiz to leave upon the expiration of his contract.
White in 2020-21
No Arsenal or Brighton defender managed more league appearances than White in 2020-21, while he contributed to 11 clean sheets in total (a joint-high alongside Rob Holding and Brighton team-mate Lewis Dunk).
He ranked eighth across the two defences for clearances (50), and ninth for headed clearances (23), though it his composure in possession which will add a major facet to Arsenal, with Arteta intent on playing out from the back.
Holding (1,802) was the only Arsenal man who attempted more passes than White (1,747) last season.
Only Dunk (313) and Adam Webster (227) played more long passes than White, who attempted 204, completing 84 of them.
White’s progression with the ball is evidenced by the fact he topped the charts for dribbles completed (24) among Arsenal and Brighton defenders, though he was also dribbled past 33 times – more than any other player on the list.