Ben White has again been touted as a summer target for Liverpool, but the £50 million-rated Brighton centre-back is highly unlikely to be making the switch to Anfield.
Ahead of the Euros – which kick off on Friday night with Turkey vs. Italy – White has been called up to the England squad as a replacement for Trent Alexander-Arnold.
It was a surprise decision by Gareth Southgate, with James Ward-Prowse the favourite to fill the vacant slot, but it comes on the back of an impressive maiden campaign for the 23-year-old in the Premier League.
White stayed with Brighton despite high-profile interest last summer, signing a new contract with the Seagulls which ties him to the club until 2024.
Liverpool were revealed as suitors midway through his loan spell with Leeds in 2019/20, with it claimed that scouts were watching the defender at “almost every single game” in the Championship.
He then returned to the radar in April, with the Mail‘s Dominic King claiming that he was “being considered” as a summer target following a nightmare campaign for the Reds in defence.
Ibrahima Konate has since joined Liverpool from RB Leipzig in a deal worth £36 million, but this has not stopped speculation over White following him to Merseyside.
The Mail‘s Sami Mokbel has named the Reds along with Man United and Arsenal as admirers of the versatile Englishman, to the extent that they have set a £50 million price tag to “fend off interest.”
“Brighton are keen to keep White for next season given his importance to the team,” Mokbel writes.
“The club’s huge valuation is likely to be met with resistance from White’s suitors, but an offer of £50 million could be too good for Brighton to turn down.”
It would be no surprise if White attracting bids this summer, having made a seamless step up from the Championship to the Premier League.
But there is very little chance he joins Liverpool, with Konate’s arrival bolstering a centre-back cohort that can be considered at least seven-strong at this point.
Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are all due to return to full fitness ahead of the first day of pre-season on July 12, while Nat Phillips, Rhys Williams and Ben Davies are also on the books.
In the academy, Billy Koumetio has already been given first-team exposure, while the likes of Sepp van den Berg and Jarell Quansah will hope to have a future at senior level.
Konate will vie with Matip and Gomez for an immediate starting spot alongside Van Dijk, with there appearing to be no place in the squad for another centre-back option – despite White’s ability to also play right-back and defensive midfield.
Brighton‘s £50 million valuation only makes the likelihood slimmer, with a permanent deal for Ozan Kabak worth £18 million already turned down as, according to The Athletic‘s James Pearce, “committing the funds wouldn’t have made sense.”
Neither would it make sense to pay almost three times that for White, with priorities now surely turning to new contracts for key names and reinforcements in midfield and attack.