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Ben White: Arsenal agree £50m deal to sign Brighton defender

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Arsenal agree deal in principle to sign Brighton defender Ben White; England centre-back is seeking a new challenge and wants to move to Emirates; Arsenal had previous bids of £40m and £47m rejected

Getty: Ben White

But with discussions continuing into July, the two Premier League clubs seem to have reached an agreement on a deal that will see Brighton get a guaranteed £50m from structured payments with no add ons.

Brighton have also inserted a sell-on clause for White, who was selected by Gareth Southgate for England’s Euro 2020 campaign.

The 23-year-old is expected to take a medical when he returns from holiday on July 26.

After leaving Southampton in 2014, White secured a move to Brighton and finally made his mark on the south coast following loan spells with Newport County, Peterborough United and Leeds United.

After breaking into the first team at the Amex Stadium he impressed last season in the Premier League in the heart of the defence.

He also helped Brighton survive relegation and finish 16th in the top flight with the joint-best defence in the bottom half of the league (46 goals conceded).

The Gunners are looking to bolster their defence after finishing eighth in the Premier League and missing out on European football for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

Arsenal’s pursuit of Ben White has caused puzzlement among some supporters. For a side with the third-best defensive record in the Premier League last season, wouldn’t £50m be better spent elsewhere?

But for Mikel Arteta, like many coaches in the modern game, a central defender’s remit is not simply to keep the ball out of his own net. It is to move it upfield as accurately and effectively as possible, and in doing so become the starting point of the team’s attacks.

Arteta regards playing out from the back as a key tenet of his philosophy, but progressing the ball from one end of the pitch to the other has been a persistent problem during his tenure – particularly when he has been without David Luiz, whose departure this summer has left a ball-playing void in the heart of Arsenal’s defence.

Arsenal transfer updates: Bellerin, Lokonga

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has told Arsenal he wants a new challenge.

Talks continue with Inter over a transfer, and while Arsenal want a permanent deal – or at least a loan with an obligation to buy – the Serie A champions prefer a loan with an option to buy.

Bellerin would welcome the move to Italy, and with his Arsenal contract up in 2023, he will not be extending his stay at the Emirates.

The 26-year-old is with the Arsenal squad in Scotland and came off the bench in Tuesday’s pre-season defeat at Hibernian.

Albert Sambi Lokonga’s move from Anderlecht to Arsenal will be finalised once the player is out of quarantine.

Lokonga is in London after a deal was agreed last week. He will need to take final medical checks before the deal is officially announced, with the fee believed to be around £15m.

Arsenal Fixtures 2021/22

Arsenal will start their 2021/22 Premier League campaign away at newcomers Brentford on Saturday August 14.

Mikel Arteta’s side, who finished a disappointing eighth in the Premier League table, then have a London derby at the Emirates against European champions Chelsea on August 21, before going to current champions Manchester City on August 28.

Arsenal’s first north London derby comes on the weekend of September 25 at home to Tottenham, while the return fixture will be on the weekend of January 15 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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