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Manchester City can unearth Stones 2.0 in White

Manchester City are reportedly considering a move for Arsenal centre-back Ben White and the England international could be the next John Stones in Pep Guardiola‘s side.

According to CalcioMercato, City are in the market for another defensive signing in 2023 and White features alongside RB Leipzig star Josko Gvardiol on a two-man shortlist.

Given that Arsenal only signed the former Brighton and Hove Albion gem in 2021 for a fee of £50m, it would no doubt represent a huge deal for the Citizens if they were to prise him away from the Emirates this year, especially considering that the two sides are competing for the Premier League title this season.

While it might prove a difficult deal for City to do, White’s performances as both a right-back and a centre-back in Mikel Arteta’s side in recent seasons have been very impressive, with the 25-year-old earning a strong 6.92 rating from WhoScored for his performances in the top flight so far this campaign.

This ranks him ahead of all of City’s central defensive options according to WhoScored, so it is clear the quality that he could add at the Etihad should he join Guardiola’s side in the near future.

Should he complete a move to City, he could potentially emulate John Stones, who has established himself as one of the best in the league since his £47.5m switch to the Etihad in 2016.

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Stones made a name for himself in the lower divisions, starting out at Barnsley before his move to Goodison Park, while White also impressed in the lower leagues on loan with Newport County, Peterborough United and crucially Leeds United, with whom he won promotion to the top flight in 2020.

Although he has featured mainly as a right-back this season, his performances at centre-back previously suggest he could be a big success under Guardiola.

Pundit Jamie Redknapp was full of praise for the young defender on Sky Sports ahead of his England debut in 2022. He said (via football.london):

“Ben’s form for Arsenal has been fantastic. He’s really formed a good partnership at the back, you know, probably the best they’ve had for a long time at Arsenal.”

Like Stones, White is very much a modern defender who excels in possession, with FBref ranking him in the top 10% of centre-backs when it comes to progressive passes and shot-creating actions per 90.

Given the similarities between the two, and Stones’ obvious success at City in his six-year stay, director of football Txiki Begiristain would do very well to bring the Arsenal star to the Etihad this year.