What does Arsenal’s interest in Ben White mean for William Saliba?

Arsenal interested in Ben White

Arsenal are on a lookout for a number of players this summer in some key positions that Mikel Arteta feels are in desperate need of an upgrade.

Position such a central midfield, attacking midfield, right back, back-up left-back and goalkeeper are all in the frame.

However, Arsenal have been linked with a move for Brighton’s Ben White yesterday evening.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein reported the news that the Gunners were looking at White with a fee in the region of £40-£50m suggested to be what the south coast club would be looking for.

This isn’t a surprise as Arsenal have seen links with both Jules Koundé and Edmond Tapsoba. Both players would also likely cost a serious fee showing Arsenal are seemingly in the market to spend big on the position.

What does this mean for Saliba?

With the possibility of a starting centre-half arriving at the club it has thrown into question what this means for the future of William Saliba.

Saliba is yet to play for the first team despite being signed in 2019 under former coach Unai Emery.

Saliba returned to Saint-Etienne on a free transfer where his season was affected by injuries and the curtailing of the Ligue 1 campaign due to the pandemic.

He returned having not fulfilled what the club had expected due to these factors and Mikel Arteta felt he wasn’t ready for first team action.

After playing for some time with the under-23s he joined Nice on loan for 6 months where he has stood out.

Returning, David Luiz’s departure seemingly opened the door to the Frenchman to come in and earn minutes. Reports have suggested the idea had been for Saliba to return and fight for a place in the team also.

However, the move for White has seen a reaction from sections of the Arsenal fan base confused at what this means.

The move for White should not be a problem for the club. Arsenal want to once again reach the top 4 and qualify for the Champions league. The teams who reached that accolade last season all have something in common. A considerable depth of strong defenders.

Liverpool suffered a catastrophic injury crisis with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all suffering long term injuries. This summer they have signed Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig who comes in alongside the aforementioned trio.

Manchester City signed Nathan Ake at the start of the 2020 summer window to add to John Stones and Aymeric Laporte. Yet this did not stop them also adding Ruben Dias who went onto star for the side last season.

Chelsea have the likes of Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christiansen and Antonio Rudiger. Man United have Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelöf, Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly.

Arsenal’s centre-backs may be high in number but questionable quality, especially in comparison to their rivals, is evident. An opportunity to be ruthless and sign a quality defender like White is crucial to sending the club in the right direction.

Furthermore, it does not rule out the possibility of Arsenal still spending in the more obvious areas.

White’s price may be a concern but it is the going rate for young, quality, English centre-halves and it may just be what Arsenal need. Only time will tell if a deal can be done and what other business the Gunners may have in store.

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