It has been a long ride that started even before the opening of the ongoing summer transfer window. Leeds United were adamant on going back for Ben White and this time, securing his signature on a permanent contract.
However, Brighton and Hove Albion stood their ground, eventually declining all three of Marcelo Bielsa’s bids, the final one believed to be in the region of £25m, and will keep their defender.
This has now been confirmed by the club, first through the player’s agent, Alex Levack, who explained that the transfer just won’t be happening. After that, Brighton’s chief executive Paul Barber put it all to bed and has also confirmed to talkSPORT the centre-back is indeed going nowhere.
“We had no intention of selling Ben White,” he said. “He’s a terrific young player, the whole point of him going out on loan was to develop him in League Two, League One and the Championship. Leeds did a fantastic job helping us to develop him, but we’re looking forward to Ben playing for us in the Premier League and certainly that’s what he’ll be doing.
“We haven’t got any interest in selling Ben, he’s in training with the squad and we’re looking forward to seeing him in action in blue and white stripes very soon.”
It seems that White himself is closer to actually penning a new contract with Brighton than he ever was to joining the newly-promoted Premier League outfit on a permanent basis.
This will undoubtedly be a huge blow for Bielsa who now has to turn his attention to other alternatives to bolster his defence ahead of the 2020/21 season.
Even though it’s quite unfortunate the Whites couldn’t get their man, at least this saga has now been put to bed. With all of that behind them, Leeds and Bielsa can now fully focus on other targets who might be more attainable at the moment.
One way or the other, it does seem like they will add a new defender into the mix before the season starts.