Manchester rivals United and City are set to rival Liverpool for the signature of on-loan Leeds United star Ben White, according to a report.
White has seriously impressed for Leeds during his loan spell from Brighton this season, being ever-present in the Championship as Marcelo Bielsa’s side have risen to the top of the table.
His form has naturally led to interest in a permanent deal for the Elland Road side, but unless they achieve promotion, they may not be able to afford him.
And the asking price is not the only concern Leeds will have in their efforts to keep White, as several of England’s biggest clubs are also monitoring the 22-year-old.
Premier League leaders Liverpool have deployed scout Andy O’Brien to watch White in nearly all his games this season, and are confident that he could easily cope with the step up given how calm he has been at Elland Road this season.
Liverpool could be on the lookout for a new centre-back if Dejan Lovren leaves amid a lack of game-time, with White a feasible replacement.
However, according to The Athletic, Manchester City and Manchester United are also said to be keen on the Brighton academy graduate, while his parent club are likely to want to retain him as well.
City failed to replace departing captain Vincent Kompany last summer, forcing Pep Guardiola to play players out of position to cover in defence – while United are prepared to let defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling leave in the coming months as part of a mass clearout.
The asking price for White is likely to be greater than the £15.07 that a young Leeds fan offered Brighton for the defender last week.
Seagulls chief executive Paul Barber politely responded to five-year-old Leeds supporter Daniel Auton, who had written to the club to offer the entire contents of his piggy bank for White.
“It’s very good of you to offer all of your money to help your club, and you clearly have a very good eye for exceptional young talent – perhaps scouting players could be your future job,” Barber replied.
“We have given your kind offer the serious consideration it deserves but I know our head coach, Graham Potter, and our technical director, Dan Ashworth, both consider Ben to be a very important part of our future plans so I’m afraid we are unable to sell Ben to Leeds United at this time.”
White himself felt that the price offered by young Daniel was too much, telling talkSPORT: “I didn’t really expect it to go this big to be fair.
“I think he put a bit too much money in.
“It’s really nice to feel that the fans appreciate the hard work I’ve put in.
“I got in contact with [Daniel’s] family yesterday, and said once the lockdown is over I’ll pop in and see him.”