Leeds target German defender Koch as alternative to White

James Holland

Leeds United are setting their sights on Freiburg defender Robin Koch as an alternative to Brighton’s Ben White, according to reports.

The Yorkshire club are eager to sign White permanently as he was an important part of their promotion to the Premier League last term.

But club officials have become disillusioned with Brighton’s reluctance to sell the player and will now target an alternative, according to The Sun.

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That alternative is believed to be Koch. He’s a 24-year-old central defender who can also play as a defensive midfielder.

Koch is currently valued at over £15 million by Transfermarkt, although it’s not clear how much Freiburg will want for the player.

Signing Koch would be a huge boost for Marcelo Bielsa’s side in preparation for their first Premier League season in 16 years.

Koch made 34 appearances in all competitions during the most recent season. He displayed excellent potential during some dominant performances for Freiburg.

The side ultimately finished eighth in the Bundesliga, ahead of Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen.

The German could form a strong partnership with Leeds captain Liam Cooper, although White may still be the club’s preferred option.

White played in all 46 of their Championship games in the most recent campaign and helped to keep 22 clean sheets during that time.

His impressive performances for the Whites mean he’s now one of the most valuable English centre backs.

Brighton rejected a second bid from Leeds last week, which was worth £22 million. That fee would make White the club’s record signing, ahead of recent acquisition Helder Costa from Wolves.

Brighton’s second bid rejection led to the hashtag ‘Free Ben White’ to trend on Twitter, such is Leeds fans’ desperation to sign him.

Leeds have been busy so far this transfer window. In addition to signing Costa, they’ve also brought in Cory Drameh from Fulham, Illan Meslier from Lorient and Jack Harrison on loan from Man City.

They also signed Joe Geldhardt for £900,000 from Wigan Athletic.