Paris Saint-Germain are ready to hijack Arsenal’s move for Ben White if the Gunners don’t meet Brighton’s asking price, according to reports.
White, 23, has enjoyed a stellar season at the Amex, starting 36 Premier League matches as Brighton conceded the joint-fewest goals of any bottom-half side (46).
His composed performances at the heart of the defence have drawn admiring glances from a number of big clubs, including Arsenal, who have made him a top priority this transfer window.
Brighton, however, recently rejected a £40m bid from the Gunners, and are said to be holding out for £50m.
While Mikel Arteta expects the Kroenke family to invest in the squad this summer, Arsenal are not blessed with the deep pockets of PSG’s Qatari owners, who will swoop if the North London club continue to dither.
The report from the Mirror claims Mauricio Pochettino, the PSG manager, ‘kept close tabs’ on White during his loan spell with Leeds United, and received ‘glowing reports’ from Marcelo Bielsa about the performances of the centre-half, who inspired Leeds to promotion.
After Brighton rejected several bids from the Yorkshire club to sign him permanently, he has gone from strength to strength under Graham Potter this season, winning his first cap for England and then making the 26-man European Championships squad.
Adam Lallana – White’s Brighton teammate – is confident he won’t be fazed by the pressure in the England camp. He told The Times earlier this month: “In any case, having played alongside Ben at Brighton & Hove Albion this season, I can vouch that he is a player who steps up the bigger the game.
“He is someone who looks even more comfortable when in the company of the best players.
“His physique is something that he has worked on throughout this season. At 6ft, perhaps there were question marks over his size as a centre half, but those have been dispelled.
“The fact that he has also played right-back this season illustrates his versatility and that will be the main reason why [Gareth] Southgate has called him into the squad after the injury to Trent Alexander-Arnold.”