Leeds remain hopeful they can still convince Brighton to sell them Ben White, despite the latest statement on his future from the Seagulls.
White, 22, has been a revelation at Elland Road this season.
A veteran of every minute of Leeds’ successful promotion campaign, his partnership alongside Liam Cooper has stood solid. Between them, Leeds have the most clean sheets in Europe’s top four leagues and the Championship.
His performances attracted the attentions of Liverpool, with one outlet suggesting he’d be a perfect Dejan Lovren replacement. That’s despite Reds scouts identifying one major flaw in the defender’s game.
Leeds are understandably keen to turn White’s temporary spell in Yorkshire permanent though. That’s despite Brighton seemingly putting a huge £35m fee on the defender’s head.
Now with promotion to the Premier League confirmed, Leeds’ hopes over a permanent deal have been rekindled.
Although they face a tough task convincing Brighton, a report on Football Insider claims two factors are in their favour.
Firstly, White’s progress under Marcelo Bielsa has seen him touted as a potential England defender. With Euro 2020 rescheduled for next summer, White will know staying under Bielsa’s wing will aid those hopes.
Furthermore, White is also known to be extremely happy at Leeds and would be willing to make the move permanent. He’s a popular figure in the dressing room and formed a close friendship with Kalvin Phillips.
Brighton dig in over Ben White future
Graham Potter used his press conference on Saturday morning to stress his expectations that White will be part of Brighton’s first team next season.
Potter poured cold water on any hopes the Yorkshire club had of making his deal a permanent one.
“He’s contracted with us and he’s on loan at Leeds. He’s our player,” said Potter on Saturday.
“It’s fantastic he’s had this year with Leeds. I think everybody won. Ben got some great experience, Leeds achieved their goal of promotion.
“But we rate him highly. I followed his career personally when he was at Newport and Peterborough.
“As I’ve said before, we were aware of him at Swansea, we were probably trying to sign him ourselves if we were still there.
“We like him a lot. He’s a really good player and thankfully he’s our player. (Next season) he’ll be competing for a place like everyone else.”