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Ben White joins Arsenal

Ben White is a Gunner

Ben White has joined Arsenal for a reported £50 million from Brighton Hove and Albion. £30 million will be paid initially, and then two more payments, £10 million in the following seasons which helps Arsenal navigate Financial Fair Play. There are over £5 million in performance-related variables for White at international and club level. Expected salary is within the region of £100,000 - £150,000.

The 23-year-old has been the talk of North London and pretty much all of football media over the last few weeks whilst on holiday after his inclusion in England’s European Championship campaign.

White was amongst the top performers at Brighton last season. After shining on loan at Leeds in the previous English Championship winning campaign, playing all 46 matches, scoring one goal and assisting two, he made 36 appearances for Brighton in the Premier League, missing just two fixtures against Sheffield and new home Arsenal.

Arsenal have confirmed two signings before announcing their latest, and it seems technical director Eduardo Gaspar (commonly known as Edu) and manager Mikel Arteta are targeting a youth project.

Under Arsene Wenger, the youth project had a key difference, namely price tags, with the club not having the money to splurge at the time. A new left-back from Benfica, Nuno Tavares (age 20) and Anderlecht’s captain Albert Sambi Lokonga (age 21) have both joined the Gunners for fair prices. This summer is then panning out to be one of strategy with the latest signature put to paper.

White is expected to start alongside Brazil’s Gabriel Magalhaes who has been excellent in Arsenal’s backline, and with a consistent partner in White, the pair should prove to be a formidable partnership.

The pattern and plan is shaping to be a foundation of a younger team, with core key players under the age of 25, accompanied by older players in key positions, such as Thomas Partey and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.

With big money transfers becoming increasingly frequent, the questions surrounding a player matching the worth of their price tag is unquestionably now a parallel to their fee.

White’s big money fee comes as no surprise. Arsenal’s first and second bids for the centre back at £40 mil and £47 mil respectively were both turned down before the above-mentioned agreement.

White is a young English-bred talent and therefore, the so called ‘English tax’ kicks in, and aside from age and nationality, the lengthy three years left on his Seagull’s contract ramps up the asking price even further. So, the question begs, ‘Will Ben White match his heavy price tag?’

White has a style of play that will compliment Arsenal and the style of play Arteta seems to be implementing at the club. He is calm with the ball at his feet and is not afraid of passing it out the back as we have seen the Gunners do more often.

With David Luiz gone, along with his attacking threat from defence, White can fill that gap offering the long balls over the top, midfield splitting ground passes and driving runs to complement his defensive abilities.

Some ex-Arsenal stars have critiqued the move of Ben White to North London’s finest:

Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell on White, “It needs to work out because Arsenal are not in the position to shift out £50 million for a player. He’ll definitely have to start. If it does happen and the medical is all good, he’ll have to hit the ground running. It’s a difficult one, it’s a lot of money.”

Ray Parlour

Ray Parlour on the new Arsenal centre-back: “He’s decent… He’s 23-years old, he’s been excellent for Brighton, and he’s got that chance in the English squad now… He can make Arsenal’s back line better.”

White has proved his quality in the gritty EFL, he has been tried and tested in a gruelling bottom half team who successfully fought off relegation in the Premier League and has been a part of international duties on occasion. The quality of the player is surely not in question, and like those before him, such as Harry Maguire for a hefty £80 million, Virgil van Dijk for £75 million, John Stones for £48 million and Aymeric Laporte for £57 million to name a few puts the consistent price tag versus quality into perspective.

Success for White is a must to silence the masses and only time will tell if the 23-year-old will be a part of the puzzle in taking Arsenal back to where they belong.

Written by Joshua Gaillard