The saga surrounding the future of Ben White took another twist today as Football Insider claimed Leeds’ record-breaking £30m bid for the Brighton defender was rejected.
However, the Daily Mirror’s David Anderson proved a catalyst for confusion by taking to Twitter to suggest that no such bid had been made or rejected.
Sky Sports previously reported that bids of £18.5m and £22m were turned down by the Seagulls, and Leeds United supporters have since wondered just how far their club will go to see the 22-year-old return to Elland Road on a permanent basis.
I’m hearing reports of Leeds having a £30million bid for Ben White rejected by Brighton are not true. #lufc— David Anderson (@MirrorAnderson) August 12, 2020
Arriving at Leeds to replace Sweden international Pontus Jansson with no Championship experience, White’s displays were more reminiscent of a defender ten years his senior.
Marcelo Bielsa unlocked the former Newport and Peterborough loanee’s potential, in a way many doubt could have been replicated had the much sought-after centre-back remained on the south coast last summer.
With just a month remaining before the Peacocks embark on their first Premier League campaign in 16 years, some believe that time is running out for the club to acquire first team reinforcements.
Although River Plate’s Lucas Martinez Quarta is among a reasonable list of potential alternatives to White, the latter possesses the advantage that he has had a season to embed himself at Elland Road.
He knows that there is a first team place waiting for him in West Yorkshire, under the manager who provided him with the platform upon which he now gains attraction from Premier League giants such as Liverpool and Chelsea.
White embedded himself in the club’s core social group too, leading the celebrations outside his adoptive home following their Championship triumph last month.
With many fans concerned over the lack of new first team acquisitions, along with the shortage of central defenders at Leeds, the signing of White would kill two birds with one stone, and this could excuse the club from criticism if they were to venture around the £30m mark.
However, Leeds may not be in the position to splash over £100m on new players, unlike Aston Villa last summer and Fulham two years ago. £30m by itself would shatter the club’s transfer record, and anything north of it could jeopardise efforts to strengthen other areas of the pitch.
Where do you stop bidding for Ben White then? #LUFC— LUFC Lewis (@LewisDeighton17) August 12, 2020
A key factor to consider is Bielsa, and the impact he can have on newcomers to his squad. Following the announcement of White’s loan arrival, there was little belief that he was capable of filling the hole left by Jansson. 46 Championship appearances later, a significant proportion of fans now see the Brighton player as the irreplaceable messiah.
If the world-renowned Argentine boss was capable of turning White into the second-tier’s best defender, he is also capable of moulding a sufficient replacement at a more modest price.
Ultimately, £30m bids may only be worth it if White shows a desire to return to Leeds. Otherwise, his current employers hold the cards, while Leeds’ big Premier League rivals are more capable of affording such a fee.
It would not mark the end of our existence if we took a more sensible approach by looking at alternatives. After all, smart spending is vital if Bielsa hopes to avoid undoing all that Leeds worked so hard to achieve since his arrival.
How vital would Ben White be to Leeds this season? What price would you be willing to go up to? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @ThruItAllLUFC.