White received his first call-up to the provisional England squad for the friendlies prior to the European Championships, but was originally cut when Gareth Southgate named his final squad for this summer’s tournament. However, White then received the call-up when Trent Alexander-Arnold was forced to pull out of the squad through injury.
During the tournament, there have been several reports of Arsenal’s interest in White and even widescale reports of bids from the Gunners, with it being suggested during The Transfer Window podcast that the Gunners have submitted a £54 million bid for the centre-back – and O’Rourke has said he fully expects the deal to happen as White himself ‘really wants this move.’
He said: “I still fully expect this deal to go through for Ben White to make the move to Arsenal. Obviously, he’s away at the Euros with England right now, so that’s holding up any potential deal being done, but I think as soon as the Euros are finished, maybe Ben White will be looking to tie this deal up quickly.
“He’ll be going away on a short break as well after being away with England at the Euros, but we all know he’s Arsenal’s top target this summer, they want to get this deal done.
“They’ve had a couple of bids now of £40 million. They had another one getting closer to £50 million that Brighton have so far rejected, but I think two clubs still in negotiations, still talking and I would expect this deal to get done at just maybe over £50 million, plus add-ons. Ben White really wants this move.”
TIF Thoughts on White to Arsenal…
When you consider that Arsenal have no European football next season and they had the third-best defence in the league last term, for the Gunners to look to spend north of £50m on a defender is a massive move for all sorts of reasons.
While it could be seen as a statement of intent off the back of their struggles in the previous campaign, it could also be viewed as an intriguing look towards securing the long-term future of the defence – which may seem brave given it was in front of goal where Mikel Arteta’s men arguably struggled more in 2020/21, as they were the second-lowest scorers in last season’s top half.
There has been a lot of interest in White since his loan move to Leeds in 2019/20, where he impressed, playing in every game for the Whites in the league as they won the Championship and were promoted back to the Premier League after a 16-year absence.
Last summer, Leeds tried to make White’s loan stay a permanent one as they prepared for life in the top flight, but Brighton rejected three bids and ended up playing 39 games in all competitions for the Seagulls last season.