Championship trio Blackburn Rovers, Derby County and Barnsley are all interested in signing midfielder Ben Whiteman from Doncaster Rovers late in the January transfer window, a report from Football Insider has claimed.
Whiteman initially joined Doncaster on loan from Sheffield United in the summer of 2017, going onto make that deal permanent the following January, with the midfielder so far featuring in a total of 126 times in all competitions for Donny.
His performances during that time for the League One side have attracted plenty of attention from those further up the football pyramid, with Blackburn, Derby and Barnsley the latest to be linked with the 23-year-old.
A move to one of those sides this month would give Whiteman the chance to play at Championship level for the first time in his career.
So is that a step up that Whiteman is capable of making?
Here, we put the spotlight on the midfielder’s performances for Doncaster this season in order to find out.
Having featured in 23 of Doncaster’s 24 League One games so far this season, Whiteman is evidently seen as a key player for Darren Moore’s side, and the stats certainly seem to suggest there is good reason for that, at both ends of the pitch.
In attack, despite his role as a central midfielder, Whiteman is clearly capable of posing a significant threat, with his five goals so far this season highlighting his ability to make a direct impact when going forward.
Being able to turn to someone able to chip in with a decent amount of goals throughout the course of the campaign from that holding midfield position is a useful thing for any side to have, so you can understand the interest in Whiteman in that respect.
Indeed, with an offensive duel success rate of almost 50%, the midfielder certainly appears to be capable of causing trouble for opposition defences despite his position in a deeper role in the pitch.
It also appears as though Whiteman is just as effective defensively as he is going forward.
With a defensive duels success rate of over 60%, the 23-year-old doesn’t appear to be an easy prospect for rival attackers to get past, thus providing an extra line of protection for those behind him.
Furthermore, with Whiteman recording more than five interceptions per game this season, also has the ability to read the game in a way that allows him to step in and shut down attacks before they become too damaging, with his position on the pitch even potentially allowing his side to launch counter-attacks of their own from those interceptions.
Add to that a hugely effective pass success rate of more than 85%, which will help his side to control games and retain possession, and it seems as though Whiteman is someone capable of making a difference for his side in several aspects of the game.
With that in mind, it is hard to argue with the suggestion that Whiteman is ready to look to make the step up to the Championship sooner rather than later.
But with his importance to Doncaster clear, and three-and-a-half years remaining on his contract at the Keepmoat Stadium, it is hard to see his current club letting him go without a fight.