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Leeds United and Brighton yet to blink in Ben White stare-down

Ben White’s arrival at Leeds United was unexpected, to say the least. He arrived as a replacement for the outbound Pontus Jansson. Many fans were perplexed at Jansson’s leaving and his replacement being a youngster untried at Sky Bet Championship level. They needn’t have worried.

His first season of football at Championship level was an effortless breeze for the Poole-born White. He simply stayed in the necessary gear to allow him to do what he had to do and could shift up and down a gear as needed. Ben White dispelled any doubts about whether he’d be a Championship success pretty quickly.

He ended up Leeds United’s promotion season as a double ever-present. He featured in all 46 of the West Yorkshire side’s Championship games as well as featuring in every minute of these games. Such were his displays for the Whites that the Brighton loanee instantly became their #1 target for this summer transfer window.

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Phil Hay, writing in The Athletic, confirms that bids have come in from Leeds United and that the club’s “initial bids reached £22 million — understood to be an up-front figure, with incentives on top.” These top-up amounts will be performance-based and White gives you just that – performance.

Hay also writes that Leeds United don’t stand there daunted by the value of Ben White and are, indeed, minded to push closer towards £30m for a player who most observers see as an England international in the making. The trouble is, Brighton has steadfastly maintained that White remains their player and firmly in the plans of manager Graham Potter.

For his part, Ben White has, according to Hay’s Athletic article, turned down Brighton’s attempts to get him to sign a new deal. The Seagulls accept that his effortless performances in the Championship for Leeds mean he is deserving of a higher wage but he’s knocked back their proposals taking him closer to £20,000-per-week.

It’s a classic Mexican stand-off. Leeds United with their £30m valuation stand opposite Brighton with their ‘our player’ stance. Hands hover over holsters as each side tries to out-psyche the other in a game of who blinks first. Should Brighton blink, Leeds United will get their man. Should it be the Whites blinking first, it’s on to a back-up option.

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