Reports in October from the Daily Mail emerged that reigning Champions League holders Liverpool were interested in making a £20m move for Brighton’s defender Ben White who is currently enjoying a good loan spell with Leeds United.
A cause of concern for Leeds United
Often transfer rumours should be taken with a pinch of salt as quite a few are just to fill the papers. However, latest reports from the Athletic (subscription required) confirms that Liverpool have a ‘genuine interest’ in the English defender. Along with the Reds, Manchester United have also been keeping track of the 22-year-old.
Quite a few reports have cited that Brighton are unlikely to recall White in the January window, but we feel that things could change if there is a concrete offer of around £20-25m for the defender. White has emerged as an integral part of the backline at Elland Road as Leeds United currently have the meanest defence in the league, conceding just 9 in 16 games.
What should Bielsa do?
United don’t have too much depth in their roster so they would surely need to bring in someone if a player like White goes on to leave in January. It will be naive of the United team not to keep a contingency plan ready in case a club like Liverpool decides to splash the cash for the defender.
It has also been revealed that United wanted to include an option to buy in White’s contract, but Brighton were reluctant to have that kind of a deal and the Premier League club, in the end, got their way. In hindsight now, it is understandable why Brighton were not willing to include a permanent option.
Why is he likely to stay at Elland Road?
We would still like to think that there is not much to worry from Leeds United’s perspective. Liverpool have four senior centre backs in their squad so it remains to be seen whether they would like to sign another one or not in January. Brighton could also be reluctant to call him back given the way he is developing at Elland Road.
White has so far played in every game in the Championship, and he is unlikely to miss any games barring any injuries or suspension. Playing for a side who are expected to win every game and with the pressure of promotion, there could be no better learning place for White than at Elland Road right now. So United should be okay in January even though Liverpool seem to be genuinely interested.
However, one cannot ignore that money often talks in some situations and Brighton can be tempted to sell if there is a top offer.
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