Arsenal are on the verge of completing a £50 million transfer for a player who will improve their team drastically, a move that should make Tottenham stand up and take notice.
Being jealous of Arsenal in any way, shape or form is not a good look. It’s an even worse feeling. But here we are, two weeks into the summer transfer window with Arsenal already making monumental moves. We all know that is not the case on Hotspur Way.
Ben White represents a purposeful, astute bit of business for the Gunners. He’s a centre back Tottenham should have pounced on 18 months ago, when rumours of their interest in the 23-year-old, soon-to-be marshal peaked. At the time White was making a major impact with Leeds, who were still in the Championship. The well-rounded centre back was one of many reasons that Leeds gained promotion to the Premier League.
Tottenham, even more recently, had another opportunity to win the White sweepstakes. Just four months ago Tottenham were considered as one of the frontrunners to land White. Though we all now recognize that the word frontrunner is as useful as throwing water on an electrical fire.
It would have cost Spurs £50 million to sign him during the most recent winter transfer period, the exact same amount Arsenal are expected to pay to secure his signature.
I’m not for a minute suggesting it would have been easy to sign White in the middle of the season, especially considering Brighton’s precarious position in the league table. But Spurs didn’t make a distinct move to try lure White away from Brighton. Now he will venture to the dark side of north London, where, as Murphy’s Law suggests, I’m sure he will thrive and make Tottenham’s top brass rue the day they didn’t at least seriously pursue the talented centre back.
Brighton conceded the seventh fewest goals in the top flight last season, thanks in large part to White’s defensive expertise. White missed only two matches, both of which resulted in Brighton losses. He was their most valuable player, albeit in a quiet, unheralded and unassuming way. And he is a player not only for the present, but for the long-term future. He’s the kind of asset you can build a team around, perfect for a rebuild.
Daniel Levy has yet again sat idly by while his club’s main rivals have beaten Tottenham to the punch and signed England’s most promising young centre back. I can only imagine the backlash if Tottenham fail to sign a comparable centre back in the coming six weeks.