Manchester City are ready to assess their central defensive options and enter the race for defender Ben White who is also Arsenal’s primary target.
According to the Transfer Window Podcast, as relayed by the Metro, Manchester City are keeping tabs on Ben White and could reportedly challenge Arsenal for the Brighton defender as Pep Guardiola assesses his central defensive options. The Premier League champions could strengthen their central defensive positions as they face uncertainty surrounding one of their main centre-halves.
Aymeric Laporte, who saw less game time last season, has become a hot topic of transfer speculation as La Liga sides circle the defender. The Spanish international saw the likes of Ruben Dias and John Stones move past him in the pecking order and cement their status as City’s starting centre-backs, leaving him on the fringes as Guardiola’s men raced towards yet another title last season.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are believed to be chasing Laporte this summer, although it’s unclear how much Man City would want for him. Laporte, however, prefers a move to Barcelona. If the defender is to leave City, then Guardiola will buy a replacement and is now showing an interest in Ben White.
White has been a subject of transfer speculation ever since the season ended. Liverpool were interested last summer. The Reds have since cooled their interest, having signed Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig. However, Arsenal have been hot on his trails and were said to be the frontrunners, having already made few offers.
Brighton have rejected two bids from the Gunners for White. a £42 million offer was followed by an improved £45 million bid that could have taken the number to £50 million with add-ons. The Seagulls, however, are holding out for £55 million with bonuses. Arsenal are expected to come back with an improved bid.
The Gunners want the versatile defender to be part of the side as Mikel Arteta works on a major rebuild at the club. Arsenal also parted ways with experienced defender David Luiz at the end of the season, with Rob Holding their only viable option for the right centre-back position. William Saliba will return, but his future remains uncertain.
Arsenal are already close to signing Portuguese left-back Nuno Tavares and Belgian midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga soon enough. Once the Euros conclude, they were expecting to close the deal for White as well. However, if Manchester City’s interest is genuine, then the north Londoners have a task to convince the England international against joining the champions, who would also be able to offer European football for the 23-year-old.
It is claimed that Manchester City have already held preliminary talks with White, although, they will need to offload Laporte before a move can materialise. Arsenal, thus, will need to act quickly and try to beat the Cityzens to the punch or they may end up seeing their primary defensive target end up at a rival club this summer.