As per Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal has agreed to a deal for £50 Million for Ben White from Brighton. This transfer would make Ben White the 3rd most expensive signing made by the club.
The 23-year-old English centre back played 36 games helping Brighton secure 11 clean sheets in the process as well. Ben White would mostly play as the right centre back position in the system utilized by Brighton. During some games even as the central defensive midfielder position when required. Displaying his versatility in the positions he can play for his team. Having a successful dribble rate of 0.7 per 90 and seeing his average heat map, Ben white is comfortable in a system that allows their defenders to progress with the ball.
Playing under Marcelo Bielsa in the championship in the 2019/20 season did help Ben White become the ball processing centre back that he became in Brighton. Due to the emphasis on high pressing intensity during the 90 minutes of the match as well as players being able to play with the ball at their feet The impact Marcelo Bielsa had on Ben White could easily be noticed in the 20/21 season with him having 0.2 key passes per 90 as well as an 83% passing accuracy per 90.
WHAT DOES BEN WHITE BRING TO THE ARSENAL DEFENSE?
Last season Arsenal conceded 39 goals in the Premier League which was the 3rd least by a club. Only behind Manchester City and Chelsea. While on paper it seems to be that Arsenal are defensively strong but that’s not the case. Arsenal towards the second half of the season emphasised a counter-attacking style of play. This could be because Arteta didn’t trust his defence as much, thus using a system with 6 defensive-minded players. With the addition of Ben White into the club, Arsenal now has two ball-playing centre backs. The other being Gabriel Magalhaes who last season had 57.4 accurate short passes per 90 as well as 0.2 successful dribbles per 90.
Can Gabriel And When White Be The Unexpected / Underrated Pairing In The League ?
Gabriel being a left-footed centre back and Ben White being a right-footed centre back would add the balance the team needed while on the ball and defensively. With Hector Bellerin mostly leaving the club, there would be a void in the right for ball progressing defenders that Ben White can easily fill in.
Tactically Arsenal can play in the preferred 4-2-3-1 formation with Ben White and Gabriel being the two centre backs, allowing the full-backs to push higher in the attacking half of the pitch and with the new signing of Sambi Lokonga playing as the 6 can be closer to the centre backs and have a hybrid 3 at the back defensive structure.
If Arsenal would like to go back to the 3-4-3 played by them towards the end of their FA CUP winning season, Ben’s white can play at the right centre position. This has been his preferred position while playing for most of the game for Brighton last season. Ben White last season had the second most tackles of 1.4 per 90. When compared to the Arsenal defence only behind Rob Holding who had 1.5 per 90. He also had the greatest number of interceptions per 90 when compared to any Arsenal defender last season.
What does this show by Arsenal towards their transfer policy and team-building approach?
Arsenal now has 5 centre backs securing the signing of Ben White. Each of them being younger than the age of 28 thus showing a more emphasis towards signing younger experienced talent. Contradictory to the past approach to sign defenders, the club approaching older players closer to the age of 32. By the end of this year, both Gabriel and Ben White would just be 24 years old. Comparing to the rest of the league centre back duo is comparatively quite young.