Arsenal have held initial talks over the summer signing of Brighton & Hove Albion defender Ben White, who is currently away with England.

England's Ben White. Issue date: Monday, June 7, 2021. Copyright: Lee Smith
England’s Ben White. Issue date: Monday, June 7, 2021. Copyright: Lee Smith

Earlier in the week, we covered a report from the Mirror that Arsenal had joined the race to sign Ben White this summer. Since then, plenty of other outlets have added their backing to the rumour.

The Athletic confirm that White is a concrete target this summer, and add that Arsenal are believed to be preparing their move for the player. They claim there’s been no club-to-club contact, but that is expected to change.

Brighton will let White go if the price is right, and that reportedly means a fee of £40-50m. But The Athletic suggest that’s not impossible for Arsenal, and personal terms shouldn’t be an issue.

The Daily Mail claim Arsenal have held initial exploratory talks over the potential transfer. Like the Mirror, the Mail say that Manchester United and Liverpool are also interested.

Another point of interest is that it will be new head of football operations Richard Garlick who will be handling negotiations. This summer will be his first big test at Arsenal.

There’s no doubt that White would be a great signing on an individual basis, even at a high fee. He’s young, homegrown, talented, and with the right profile for Arsenal. But doubts will remain about the decision to invest so heavily at centre-back.

In one sense, I can understand it. Arsenal build from the back, so having top centre-backs is as important in possession as most other positions. But the transfer would have to be combined with a marquee creative signing in midfield.

If £40-50m on White comes at the expense of a top midfielder, it makes much less sense.