Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa is keen on bringing Brighton and England defender Ben White back to Elland Road in the summer transfer window.
Reports last summer revealed just how desperate Bielsa’s side were in trying to turn White’s loan deal into a permanent one, but Brighton stuck to their guns and ended up keeping him at the Amex.
Now, journalist Duncan Castles has claimed that Leeds are still one of a number of Premier League sides interested in signing the centre-back this time around, with Arsenal and Leicester also said to be keen on him.
Despite spending just the one season at Elland Road, White left an incredible impression on Bielsa, establishing himself as a cornerstone of a Leeds defence that earned promotion back to the Premier League.
He’s followed up that reliability by featuring in 36 of Brighton’s 38 Premier League games last season, and was rated as the second-best ball-playing defender under Seagulls boss Graham Potter, having averaged a passing accuracy of 83.2% throughout the 2020/21 campaign.
And, his impressive averages of 1.4 tackles, 1.7 interceptions and 1.4 aerial duels won per game, via WhoScored, show him to be the kind of defender who also relishes getting into the thick of things but having the presence of mind to step in and nip the ball in front of the striker too.
Brighton’s academy coach, John Morling, said: “He’s so calm, nothing fazes Ben. Any hurdles, he just jumps over. He just looks like he’s been there for years. He’s a winner. You’d want him in your team.”
Having also been hailed as a “special talent” and “a warrior” too, White’s success and recent inclusion into the England squad for the EUROs is no real surprise, especially given Bielsa’s own comments about him earlier this year.
He said: “Ben White has shown he is a Premier League player. All of us here admire him as a player. We respect him and love him as a human being. He was an excellent professional, as well as a team-mate. I hope his career allows him to grow because he deserves it.”
Given the kind of impact he made previously at Elland Road in helping the Whites to promotion, and the kinds of strides he’s taken since then, a move for the defender seems like an absolute no-brainer, and surely has Bielsa on cloud nine that he could be reunited with him.