Liverpool have ‘genuine interest’ in Leeds’ new leading centre-back

21 November 2019

Liverpool have been credited with ‘genuine interest’ in Leeds United’s on-loan Brighton centre-back Ben White, who is shining in the Championship.


White joined the Whites on a season-long deal in July, following spells with Newport County and Peterborough, having initially come through the ranks at Southampton.

The 22-year-old, who can also play at right-back, won the PFA Fans’ Championship Player of the Month award in August and has produced a consistent run of excellent performances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

A progressive, ball-playing defender with a fine passing ability, who reads the game well and is able to tackle like a no-nonsense stopper, it is no wonder White is garnering interest from the Premier League.

One of those clubs is Liverpool, according to The Athletic‘s Phil Hay, who claims they are “genuinely interested” in the Englishman after previous links.

Hay adds that Brighton would prefer White to stay with Leeds for the remainder of the campaign, but that they value the defender at £20 million.

Man United have also scouted him, according to Hay, who argues that despite not being a ‘youngster’ at 22, his “reading of the game and his consistency marks him out as a centre-back who prominent top-flight teams could rapidly bring up to speed.”

This suggestion outlines White as a candidate to step into Liverpool’s first-team squad, though whether that is the case remains to be seen.

There is a clear difference between shining in the second tier and cutting it in the Premier League, but the Reds have previous in this sense, having signed Joe Gomez from Charlton in 2015.

Gomez arrived in a deal worth just £3.5 million, which is similar to the fee paid to sign Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle in the summer—the Dutchman joining in a deal worth up to £4.4 million.

Spending £20 million on a player with more experience in League Two (42 games) than the Premier League (zero), the Championship (16) and League One (15) combined could be seen as a risk.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 2, 2019: Liverpool's Dejan Lovren celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. Liverpool won 2-1 with a winning goal in injury time. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That is particularly the case as White has been painted as a possible Dejan Lovren replacement, with the Croatian currently serving as partner to Virgil van Dijk in Joel Matip‘s absence.

But Hay describes White as “the most striking difference” in Bielsa’s side from his first campaign at Leeds and now, and the Argentinian is respected as one of world football’s most distinguished managers.

Bielsa employs a vaguely similar high-intensity style to Klopp, with tough physical demands on players, and if White is able to shine within this system, perhaps he could be worth the outlay for Liverpool.

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