Arsenal splattered a massive amount of money to make their defence stronger in the summer transfer window before the current season started. One of the additions was the young English defender Benjamin White. But there were a few eyebrows raised when the Gunners spent 50 million pounds for a defender. But Arteta knew what he wanted, and Ben White was the chosen one to lead the defence and make it solid.
It was the most Arsenal have ever spent on a defender, the most expensive Englishman in the club’s history, and their third-highest ever outlay on a single player.
But when we analyse the performance of the English defender, it looks like that 50 million pounds have not been wasted. His defensive pair with Gabriel Magalhaes has been solid, and it also helped the team to touch the top four.
White started his youth career at Premier League club Southampton before being released at the age of 16. He was signed by Brighton & Hove Albion, where he initially joined their academy.
With Brighton’s first team, he was mostly an unused sub. He made his professional football debut on 9 August 2016, playing the entire game of the first round EFL Cup match in a 4–0 home victory over Colchester United.
After being linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur after initially rejecting a new contract offer at Brighton, White did sign a new long-term contract extension at Brighton in April 2018.
Following months of speculation regarding his future, including Brighton rejecting three permanent bids for White from Leeds, White signed a new four-year contract with Brighton on 1 September 2020. On the opening day of the 2020–21 season, White made his league debut for Brighton, in what was also his Premier League debut, in a 3–1 home loss against Chelsea where he went off injured.
He also had a loan spell with Leeds United when the club was in the Championship. White played in all 46 league games as Leeds were promoted to the Premier League as league champions. He scored his only goal for Leeds in the last game of his loan spell in a 4–0 victory against Charlton Athletic, which was ultimately voted Goal of the Month for July 2020. White was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the 2019–20 Championship.
Mikel Arerta had no doubts about the quality of Ben White. He has always praised him. “We brought him because we believe that he can be extraordinary,” Arteta said of White.
“He doesn’t have that much experience in the league still. He has experience with Leeds and the experience he had with Brighton for a year, so he is not mature in that sense, but he has already shown his qualities and what he can do. The way he has adapted to us is impressive so the potential is there.”