This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
The Athletic journalist Phil Hay has said that Liverpool are genuinely interested in on-loan Leeds United defender Ben White.
The 22-year-old moved to Elland Road from Brighton and Hove Albion in the summer on a short-term basis, and he will return to the AMEX Stadium at the end of this current campaign.
Now, it appears the Reds are “genuinely interested” in White, according to Hay. They are not the only club to be looking at him though, with Manchester United also mentioned.
Liverpool were reportedly first interested in the defender last month.
Virgil van Dijk is the undisputed main centre-back at Anfield. His arrival in January 2018 has helped galvanise Jurgen Klopp’s side, with the Merseyside outfit reaching two Champions League finals in that time, triumphing in one of them. Not only that, but they had the best defence in the Premier League last term, conceding just 22 goals in 38 matches.
The place alongside him, though, is up for grabs. Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez have all started matches there in the league so far this campaign and, although the former appeared to be making the position his own with seven starts, his recent injury has prevented him from consolidating a place.
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As such, a new addition would surely be welcomed as long as they are up to the required standard. Fortunately, White is in terrific form. He has been a rock at the heart of the defence for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, playing in all 16 Championship matches as Leeds have shipped just nine goals. For context, no other side in the division has conceded less than 13.
He has impressed in a number of different areas. He has 1.9 tackles per match, which is the second-most amongst his teammates, whilst his 2.9 interceptions are more than any other player in the league. On top of that, he also has 3.6 clearances per match, and has been dribbled past just 0.2 times per game.
Interestingly, White is also comfortable on the ball. His 85.5% passing accuracy puts him in the top 20 in the second tier and third amongst his teammates, while an average of 59.5 passes per match is enough to put him eighth amongst all of the footballers from the 24 teams competing at that level.
This has all contributed to an average WhoScored rating of 7.22, which is just behind Kalvin Phillips for Leeds and in the top 20 overall in the league.
With a current Transfermarkt value of £2.25m, he could be an absolute bargain and one that Klopp and co might not be able to get their hands on again. Although it is only in the second tier, he has shown himself to be a stand-out performer for one of the best teams in the league, one that plays in front of pressurised crowds at Elland Road.
Considering the uncertainty surrounding the position next to van Dijk, White could be the long-term answer for the former Borussia Dortmund manager.