Chelsea have reportedly entered the transfer race for the signing of Brighton & Hove Albion defender Ben White, who is also wanted by Arsenal.
Speaking on the Transfer Window Podcast (h/t Express), transfer expert Duncan Castles has claimed that Chelsea have expressed a significant interest in securing the services of Brighton & Hove Albion star Ben White, who is also a summer target for London rivals Arsenal.
White, a product of the Brighton youth academy, shot to prominence after a brilliant loan spell at Leeds United during 2019/20 when he played an integral role in the Whites achieving promotion back to the Premier League. Last summer saw clubs queuing up to sign the 23-year-old, but he stayed put at the Amex Stadium, signing a new long-term contract.
Following that, White enjoyed another fine campaign in what was his maiden season in the Premier League. The defender caught the eye with sound defensive nous and his versatile nature, as he played in multiple positions for Brighton from his natural role at centre-back to defensive midfield to even right wing-back.
White received a call-up to the England national team on the back of his impressive performances, making his debut last month before being drafted into the Euro 2020 squad as a replacement for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold. White’s progression over the past couple of years has garnered him a lot of admirers at the top-end of the Premier League, with Arsenal at the forefront of the interest in him.
Arsenal are in the market for a new defender after having let go of David Luiz upon the expiry of his contract. As things stand, Mikel Arteta only has Rob Holding, and Calum Chambers as options for the right-sided defender role, with William Saliba set for another loan stint. To that end, the Gunners have identified White as a top transfer target.
In fact, the north London giants had even submitted an offer for the England international, only to be rebuffed by Brighton, who are demanding a higher fee. And even as Arsenal contemplate upping their offer for the 23-year-old, London rivals Chelsea have entered the fray for his signing, claims Duncan Castles, with the Blues having informed his agent of their interest.
“I now understand that Chelsea have notified the player of their interest in signing him. I think that’s significant competition for Arsenal because Chelsea obviously can offer Champions League football, can offer a club based in London in the same way that Arsenal can, but one that should be immediately competitive for the Premier League title, and one that hasn’t had much hesitation about spending aggressively of Ben White’s profile and age range,” he said.
Chelsea, too, are in the market for defensive reinforcements considering as Fikayo Tomori has made his transfer to AC Milan permanent while Thiago Silva will soon be turning 37. With Cesar Azpilicueta also on the wrong side of the thirties, it makes sense for Thomas Tuchel & co. to bring in a young defender with Niklas Sule on their radars while White has also emerged as a target.
It now remains to be seen who between Arsenal and Chelsea comes out on top in this transfer race or if it is a different club altogether, with Everton and Manchester City also interested.