Leeds United fans may have a lot to celebrate this summer as promotion beckons, but one huge negative is still lurking in the background at Elland Road.
Indeed, with each passing week we’re getting closer to having to say goodbye to Ben White as the Brighton loanee gears up to return to his parent club in the summer.
The centre-back has been a revelation this season, starting every single game for the Yorkshire club and earning some huge plaudits along the way, including being compared to Manchester City’s John Stones.
It’ll be sad to see White go, but Leeds may already have the perfect replacement in their sights.
Football Insider are reporting that the Whites are in the race to sign Oxford United defender Rob Dickie.
The centre-back is wanted by a number of Premier League clubs including Southampton and Burnley, but with promotion on the horizon, United are also trying to get involved in the transfer battle.
Signing a player from League One doesn’t seem like the type of business you’d want to see from a newly-promoted team, but if you are to trust any club to pick out a defensive talent from that level it’s Leeds.
Let’s not forget that before this season White hadn’t played above League One level, and now he’s being touted with a move to a top-six club.
Dickie has apparently been heavily scouted by United, and the team at Elland Road clearly have an eye for centre-backs at that level, as Victor Orta has claimed they were looking at White for two years before bringing him in on loan.
Hopefully, the Yorkshire outfit may be about to strike gold again by looking towards League One for a new centre-back to replace White.
Dickie does seem to be in a similar mould to White as well.
Like Leeds, Karl Robinson sets up his Oxford side to keep the ball – they’ve averaged the most possession of any League One team this season – and the 24-year-old is an important part of that, with passing hailed as one of his key strengths by Whoscored and The Daily Mail praising his ability to “play out of defence with precision”.
In fact, White and Dickie have produced incredibly similar averages this season, the former producing 55.7 passes per match to the latter’s 54.7 as well as 0.5 unsuccessful touches compared to 0.4. Both have also returned 0.6 dribbles per match.
United have already uncovered a brilliant talent in England’s third division, and if the scouting team are keen on Dickie they have earned the right to be trusted on their judgement after uncovering such a gem last summer.
In other news, one Leeds youngster has taken a step back this season.