Leeds United are unlikely spend more than £30 million in order to sign Brighton defender Ben White, according to former Whites forward Noel Whelan.
The Whites are preparing for life in the Premier League after winning the Championship last season.
Following his impressive performances on loan at Elland Road last term, it seems the Yorkshire club are keen to sign the 22-year-old ahead of their return to the top flight but are understood to have seen two offers – of £18.5 million and £22 million – rejected by the seagulls.
White featured in every game for Leeds last term and helped them concede the fewest goals in the division and keep the most clean sheets.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan suggested that the Premier League new boys were unlikely to spend in excess of £30 million to land the defender.
He explained: “I think £22-25million is the right price for Ben White who’s had a great year in the Championship but not Premier League proven. Usually, when you spend £20million-upwards, you’re buying someone at a proven level.
“The problem is you can’t wait too long, the season starts in less than a month now so you haven’t got much time to start working with players, you really want them in for pre-season.
“Your squad are assembled, people are in, get them in as quickly as possible, get them into the environment – not that he needs bedding in, Ben White, but you would like to get that continuity while you’re going through the pre-season and friendlies.
“I’m sure they’ll have a limit of what they’ll go up to, £30million is probably the maximum, I would want to pay for a player because you could probably go and get two other centre-halves for that money – Foyth for £15million, someone else for another £15million.”
Leeds look in desperate need of a new central defender, with Liam Cooper currently the only available centre-back in their senior squad.
The Whites have been busy already in the summer window, making five signings so far, but are yet to add more reinforcements to the heart of their backline.
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You can see where Whelan is coming from here but it’s not good news for the Elland Road faithful.
As good as White was last term, he doesn’t have any Premier League experience and in that sense, £30 million-plus is a lot of money to spend.
It’s tough to see a deal getting done for less than £30 million, particularly as previous reports have indicated that Brighton have placed a £40 million price tag on the defender.