Angus Kinnear has conceded that it is going to be challenging for Leeds United to lure Ben White out of Brighton and Hove Albion this summer, with the Whites lining up alternatives if a move to bring the 22-year-old back to Elland Road fails.
Leeds are on with trying to bring White back to Elland Road on a permanent basis after a hugely successful year on loan under Marcelo Bielsa in the Championship.
White featured 49 times for Leeds in 2019/20, playing every minute of the Championship season as the Whites stormed to the title and won promotion back to the Premier League.
Quiz: Do you remember which club Leeds United signed these 15 players from?
It’s been widely reported that two bids have been made, but Brighton have rejected Leeds’ advances, which peaked at £22m.
Assessing Leeds’ chances of landing White, Chief Executive Kinnear has opened up on the struggles the club are facing.
“I think it’s going to be incredibly challenging,” Kinnear admitted when sitting down with The Square Ball Podcast.
“We’ve made no secret of how highly we rate Ben. You can see what he has done last season. We could have done without him ripping one into the top corner in the last game (a sublime volley in a 4-0 win over Charlton Athletic).
“As everyone else celebrated I just had my head in my hands!
“The reality is he did a wonderful job for us but he’s a Brighton player. They rate him very highly and I’m sure they see us as a rival.
“There is competition for his position at Brighton. I would imagine they’ll need to give him a level of confidence that he is going to be selected week in and week out.
“The conversations are continuing but we have to be respectful of Brighton’s position and the fact that he is their player.
“There is no lack of financial commitment in terms of trying to secure him but there becomes a point where you have to accept that it’s not going to happen and that you don’t pursue someone for too long at the expense of other targets.
“We have two or three other names in that group in that position who supporters should be really excited about.
“I know emotionally it won’t have the same appeal as getting Ben back but, if it doesn’t work, then I think we have some good cover lined up.”
Although it isn’t clear when Leeds will give up in their pursuit of White, The Athletic are reporting that there’s interest in Robin Koch, a German international defender, who at 24, is seen as an alternative to White.
Leeds will begin their Premier League campaign next month.
Kinnear and Leeds are taking a sensible approach to their pursuit of Ben White.
The money is there to spend and they aren’t afraid to throw it at Brighton to get the defender away from the AMEX, but there’s a clear desire on the South Coast to retain the centre-back.
Getting alternatives lined up is vitally important and Leeds are getting to the point now where they can’t wait for White forever.
Thoughts? Let us know!