Arsenal: First fixtures of 2021/22 Premier League season
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With David Luiz set to leave Arsenal this summer, Arsenal are keen to bring in a centre-back, with Brighton defender Ben White at the top of their list. The England international is keen on the move but the Seagulls will only sell if their valuation of around £50m is met.
However, this could mean that William Saliba could be set for another loan spell away from the club, according to reports – his third since joining the Gunners in 2019.
The Daily Mail are reporting that Mikel Arteta wants a centre-back to compete with current defender Gabriel and Rob Holding, with White their priority – meaning Saliba will be surplus to requirements for another season.
Arsenal are claimed to have had a £40million bid rejected by Brighton for White earlier this window.
The young defender signed a new contract at Brighton last September to ward off interest from Leeds United.
Leeds wanted to re-sign the centre-back after he shone in a loan spell at Elland Road during their promotion campaign.
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White’s performances in the Premier League at Brighton have caught Arsenal’s interest and also the eye of England boss Gareth Southgate.
His form earned him a call-up to the England Euro 2020 squad as a late replacement for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold.
White had an excellent first season at Premier League level with the Seagulls.
The 23-year-old was part of a defence that conceded the joint fewest goals in the bottom half of the top-flight with 46 – only Aston Villa, who finished 11th, let in as many.
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Brighton’s disappointing 17th-place finish has largely been blamed on a lack of goals and White’s performances were widely praised.
As for Saliba, the Frenchman has had a difficult time since arriving at the Emirates a few years ago.
The Frenchman originally signed in 2019 but is yet to play a league game for the club.
After spending his first year as an Arsenal player out on loan at Saint-Etienne, Arteta decided he wouldn’t play any role this season.
He was exiled from the first team and loaned to OGC Nice in the January transfer window in an attempt to reignite his career.
And that loan has been a success, with Saliba playing 20 times across all competitions for the French side.
He coasted through his first ten games with Nice without being dribbled past once and has looked impressive during his run in the first team.
And he now looks set for a Premier League loan, with Newcastle keen on the 20-year-old.
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