North London giants Arsenal remain the clear betting favorites to sign Brighton and England defender Ben White this summer despite seeing their initial bid for the player rejected. White, 23, is part of the England squad that’s advanced to the last 16 at Euro 2020, and his future will be finalised once he returns from his international commitments in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Сampussports.net recently relayed reports that the Seagulls have rejected a $55 million (£40m) opening offer for their centre-back star, though the Gunners are expected to return with an improved bid.
The British sportsbooks clearly feel Mikel Arteta’s side are frontrunners to complete the deal considering Arsenal can be found at odds as low as 2/5 to sign White before the September 3 deadline.
Journalist Chris Wheatley recently described the signing as ‘likely’ following the club’s unsuccessful first bid, with Brighton believed to be holding out for $50 million (£70m).
That’s a massive sum for Arsenal to fork out given the club will not feature in European competition this term, missing out on any form of continental qualification for the first time since 1995.
Arteta is under some pressure to replace David Luiz as the Brazilian defender prepares to leave the Emirates Stadium on a free transfer.
It was believed William Saliba was set to receive his first-team chance with the Gunners after spending the second half of last season on loan with Nice, but Arteta’s faith in the 20-year-old has been called into question.
As for White, the Seagulls star has quickly garnered a reputation as a rising force in England’s top flight, although few expected him to be part of his country’s Euro 2020 efforts this summer.
The Poole native himself was shocked to receive the call from coach Southgate having only made his senior England debut as a substitute in their friendly win over Austria on June 2, telling the BBC:
“It’s been very surreal. Obviously I didn’t think this would be happening. I thought I’d be somewhere hot like Portugal [for the summer].
“It’s mind-blowing. I didn’t really expect any of it to happen. To make it to the final squad was unbelievable.
“I don’t think it can be bad news when the gaffer is going to ring you. I was just waiting for the call. I don’t think I’ve let it settle in yet.
“It’s something I’ve never felt before. It’s very difficult. It’s news that doesn’t normally come around. I was speechless and I felt amazing.”
French giants Paris Saint-Germain are an unexpected addition among the betting options chasing White, although their 6/1 odds are still a gulf behind undoubted favorites Arsenal.
Premier League club Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham have also been mentioned as admirers of the defender, though those moves look far less likely at odds of 14/1 or higher.
Brighton—who placed 16th in the league last season—are under little pressure to sell their star considering White has three years remaining on his contract at the Amex Stadium.
That being said, Arsenal’s offer may be deemed too good to resist if they do indeed improve upon their opening attempt, already a huge figure for a player who has made just 36 appearances in England’s first tier.
Ben White Next Club Odds