Phil Hay has revealed that re-signing Ben White is a priority this summer for Leeds United as they prepare for life back in the Premier League.
Leeds won the Championship title and secured promotion comfortably in 2019/20, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side finishing 10 points clear at the top of the table.
White was a major reason why Leeds won promotion, with the centre-back, who was on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion, playing every minute of league football and missing only 45 minutes across the entire season.
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Naturally, there’s a desire at Leeds to get him back, but Brighton are looking to find room for him in Graham Potter’s squad.
Nevertheless, Leeds’ focus is on retaining White this summer, with his return a priority it seems.
Discussing White on The Phil Hay Show, The Athletic journalist revealed: “The priority for them though, without a doubt, is Ben White at the back, and that is the really complex deal because as it stands, Brighton are digging their heels in, Brighton are insisting they don’t want to sell. He’s due to come back to training with them in the next week, which is when I think things will properly develop one way or the other.
“He’s going to be expensive, there’s no question about that – I just think Leeds have seen so much in him over the past 12 months and have seen so much progress and development in him under [Marcelo] Bielsa that they would happily pay a high price for him.”
Alongside Liam Cooper, White was immense for Leeds, who now have a dilemma at centre-back.
White has returned to Brighton, whilst Gaetano Berardi is on the long-term injury list and also out of contract. As things stand, Cooper is the only senior centre-back signed up for next season.
When you assess Leeds’ squad, it is little surprise that the Whites are prioritising a centre-back signing this summer and it might as well be White.
He’s been immense over the last 12 months and there won’t be one person at Elland Road not hoping to see him back in the Premier League.
Once his future is resolved, other areas of the pitch need addressing, but it is hard to begrudge Leeds chasing this deal before anything else.
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