This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa could be in for a New Year head-ache amid reports that Chelsea are plotting a bid for on-loan Brighton defender Ben White, according to a report in The Sun.
White has impressed so far this season at Elland Road, playing a major part in Whites manager Marcelo Bielsa’s plans to gain automatic promotion to the Premier League this season.
So is it a surprise that Chelsea are keen on Ben White and could he cut the mustard at Stamford Bridge?
“I’m not surprised at all given how well White has performed, along with how Chelsea’s current strategy of placing faith in youth is playing out under Frank Lampard.
“White has been an ever-present so far for under Marcelo Bielsa as Leeds push for automatic promotion and is a key part of the league’s meanest defence, conceding 13 in 22 games.
“Meanwhile, Chelsea under Lampard are proving that players of White’s ilk can more than cope with the demands of the Premier League and even Champions League, as Fikayo Tomori demonstrates a similar trajectory to White.
“Tomori spent last season on-loan at Derby and shone, but is now a key defender at Stamford Bridge, showing that the step-up might not be as daunting as it’s made out for White.”
“White has managed to exceed expectations since joining Leeds over the summer, so it is not a surprise to see a host of Premier League clubs now linked with him ahead of the January window.
“The defender’s performances suggest he is destined for a top Premier League club in the near future, and Chelsea could be a good fit given their recent track record in integrating young talent to the first team.
“Frank Lampard has placed focus on developing the club’s young players by giving them regular minutes, which means this could be the perfect environment for White to continue his progression even though he might not yet be the finished article.
“Some Chelsea fans would perhaps like to see their club more established and proven top-flight players in the January market, but White is still a player who has plenty of quality while fitting the current Chelsea mould.”
Could Ben White cut the mustard at Stanford Bridge?
“This doesn’t surprise me at all no, White has been nothing short of outstanding for Leeds this term and I think he already possesses the ability required to play at a higher level.
“Brighton will no doubt have a fight on their hands this summer to hold onto the young centre back, however if a move did come to fruition, the south coast club would be fairly confident of demanding a substantial fee for the player.
“He isn’t necessarily a player of Chelsea’s standard yet, however a manager like Frank Lampard has shown a willingness to give young players a chance at first team level this term and that can only work in White’s favour if he were to move to Stamford Bridge.
“It will be interesting to see where White ends up this summer, as the centre back may be keen to continue his journey at Leeds, whilst he may also be in favour of establishing himself at Brighton under Graham Potter.”