Premier League • England

Arsenal nearing defender deal breakthrough as Fabrizio Romano confirms player greenlight and ‘advancing’ talks

Arsenal defenders Ben White, Gabriel and William Saliba

Ben White celebrates with Arsenal team-mates Gabriel and William Saliba after scoring in the Premier League victory over Bournemouth.

Renowned transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has issued an update on Ben White’s talks to extend his Arsenal contract, revealing negotiations are due to continue soon with the situation “advancing.”

White has established himself as a key figure in the Arsenal squad since arriving from Brighton in the summer of 2021, making 77 Premier League appearances for Mikel Arteta’s side to date.

The England defender excelled after being moved from his preferred centre-half position to an unfamiliar right-back role last season, playing an instrumental role in Arsenal’s title fight against Manchester City.

White has been ever-present for Arsenal so far this season and registered his first goal of the campaign – and his third in total for the north London club – in Saturday’s resounding 4-0 victory over Bournemouth.

Although White’s current contract is not due to expire until 2026, it has been widely reported that talks are underway regarding a new deal as a reward for his on-pitch contribution.

Having revealed over the weekend that Arsenal will seek to extend White’s contract once they tie down captain Martin Odegaard – claiming the club are impressed “with his performances and attitude” – football reporter Romano took to Twitter to provide an update on the situation.

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Romano also stressed that Arsenal are under no immediate pressure to extend White’s contract to ward off interest from rival clubs.

He wrote: “New round of talks will take place soon for Ben White to discuss new contract at Arsenal.

“Positive feeling as it’s advancing. White wants to stay, Arsenal are not under pressure but want to reward Ben with new long-term deal and also improved salary.”

New deal to underline White’s importance to Arsenal

Eyebrows were raised when Arsenal parted with £50million to sign White – who came to prominence during loan spells in the EFL with Newport County, Peterborough United and Leeds United between 2017 and 2020 – two years ago.

Nonetheless, the excellence and consistency of the 25-year-old’s performances have quickly repaid Arteta’s faith.

Appearing on the Amazon Prime documentary series following Arsenal’s 2012/22 season, Arteta spoke with huge admiration about White. Indeed, the Spaniard described the defender as talented, brave and hailed him as “a fighter.”

“He trains like he’s playing the Champions League Final,” Arteta commented during the series. “That’s why he’s come a long way in such a short time in his career. Ben has the capacity to play in different positions and that’s a big plus for any player.”

Despite his importance to Arsenal, White’s club form has yet to translate to the international stage. He has been limited to just four England caps to date and mysteriously left Gareth Southgate’s squad during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Although “personal reasons” were cited as the reason behind White’s departure, it was widely reported that his exit came after a disagreement with Southgate’s assistant, Steve Holland.

White has not played for the national team since.

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