Liverpool have been watching Leeds loanee Ben White in plenty of interest in recent weeks as Jurgen Klopp’s side ponder a summer approach for the impressive central defender.
White has become an integral part of Marcelo Bielsa’s defence at Leeds since arriving on a season’s loan from Brighton, sparking reports that the two Premier League heavyweights were weighing up moves for the centre-back.
And while Brighton boss Graham Potter has stated that White’s future remains with the Seagulls, explaining they have no interest in selling him, The Athletic have claimed that scouts from Liverpool have watched the 22-year-old closely in recent weeks and are strongly considering a summer approach for his services.
White is contracted to Brighton until summer 2022 so would, in theory, be in no hurry to cash in on the defender, though much will depend on whether the player signs the reported contract extension the Seagulls are preparing for the defender at the end of the season.
Leeds, of course, would have strong designs on signing White permanently were they to secure promotion to the Premier League themselves though could face a tough battle should Klopp and Liverpool follow up their growing interest with a firm bid for the £20million-rated defender.
For now, however, White has insisted his sole focus is on securing promotion with Leeds, with Bielsa’s side now holding a five-point cushion to third placed Fulham ahead of their midweek trip to face Middlesbrough.
“Who knows?” was White’s diplomatic reply when asked about the prospect of a permanent switch to Elland Road. He was more forthcoming about the prospect of helping win promotion.
“It would mean the world,” he said. “I don’t think there would be a better team to do it with.”
White has illustrated his versatility by stepping into a holding midfield role on various occasions this season; something he was again asked to do on Saturday when Kalvin Phillips was withdrawn after suffering a kick on the calf.
Assessing his role as a makeshift midfielder, White continued: “It’s been very different but I’m learning every day. I had never played in midfield before this season. It’s tougher, but I enjoy it and it’s something I’m trying to work on.”
Leeds were indebted to Kiko Casilla for Saturday’s win over Reading, the Spanish keeper pulling off a smart low save to deny the Royals an equaliser.
Casilla’s FA hearing into an alleged racist remark towards Charlton striker Jonathan Leko in September took place in London last week.
A verdict is expected soon, with fears of a long ban looming over Leeds.