Arteta ‘plans to mix up’ Arsenal defence with two targets lined up to replace in-form star

Lewis Oldham
Arsenal plan for White

According to reports, Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta ‘plans to mix up’ his defence next season and Ben White will be impacted by this switch.

White was signed for around £50m from Brighton in 2021. He was brought in as a centre-back and he played alongside Gabriel Magalhaes throughout the 2021/22 campaign.

The Englishman has been converted into a right-back this season as William Saliba has taken his place at centre-back.

The 25-year-old has surpassed expectations at full-back this term as he has been one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers. He has been involved in seven goals in the league as he has helped Arsenal to push for the title.

But Arsenal’s lack of options in defence has been exposed in recent weeks. Saliba’s injury afforded Rob Holding the opportunity to play alongside Gabriel, but he struggled against Man City. 

January signing Jakub Kiwior has been brought in to play with Gabriel in recent games and they performed well in recent wins over Chelsea and Newcastle United.

Pete O’Rourke’s report for Football Insider has lifted the lid on Arteta’s plans for White. The journalist expects the head coach to ‘push him back into a more central role next season’ with Real Valladolid’s Ivan Fresneda being targeted as their potential new right-back.

‘Mikel Arteta has plans to mix up his Arsenal defence next season according to my sources,’ O’Rourke wrote for Football Insider.

‘The Gunners boss is on the lookout for a new right-back, with Ivan Fresneda also a target for the North London side.

‘Borussia Dortmund currently lead the race for the teenage star, but Arsenal are big admirers and could table a bid this summer to match the £20million asking price.

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‘Arteta is keen to add an attack-minded right-back to his side, and Fresneda fits the profile as a young and energetic player.

‘I understand that the reasoning behind Arteta’s transfer plans is that he intends to push Ben White back into a more central role next season.

‘White has shone for Arsenal at right-back this season, but Arteta would prefer more versatility and depth in his backline so that White can occasionally play in his preferred central role.’

O’Rourke also points out that Ajax’s Devyne Resnch is an alternative target if Arsenal ‘miss out on Fresneda’.

‘If Arsenal miss out on Fresneda, they plan to sign exciting Ajax prospect Devyne Resnch,” O’Rourke continued.

‘The 20-year-old has become a key part of the Ajax side this season and could be a cheaper option for the Gunners at right-back.

‘Brighton are also keeping tabs on Rensch and could provide competition for his signature, but Arsenal are hopeful that their Champions League qualification can help lure the Netherlands international to The Emirates.’

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