Arsenal may have waited too long to sign top transfer target

Mikel Arteta wants to sign Ben White to revamp Arsenal’s defence, but the club’s hesitation has opened the door for Manchester City to swoop in. 

Ben White is the player Mikel Arteta believes can serve as the cornerstone of Arsenal’s back line for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately for Arteta and higher-ups with the Gunners, the club’s hesitation to meet Brighton’s asking price has allowed Manchester City to join the fray for the talented centre back.

According to the Manchester Evening News, City officials are not contemplating a bid for White after seeing Arsenal’s original £40 million bid knocked back by Brighton. Pep Guardiola and his staff see White as an ideal replacement for the disappointing Aymeric Laporte in the heart of their central defence. That’s why City may be willing to pay the £50 million fee Brighton have quoted for their talented English international.

Arsenal missing out on White would be a bitter pill for Arteta to swallow. There’s still plenty of time left before the start of the Premier League campaign to bring in secondary targets, but the Gunners may not be forced to settle on a player with less experience or upside.

Arsenal transfer rumors: Does Ben White make sense for Manchester City?

Swooping for White makes all the sense in the world from the City perspective. Guardiola’s squad is chocked full of talented players, but there’s always room for a homegrown star with world-class potential. White may never turn into a true superstar, but he comfortably projects as an above-average starter for a club with aspirations to win every competition they enter.

The £50 million price tag will also be viewed as an absolute bargain by City officials. The club are contemplating spending twice that amount for English attacking talents like Jack Grealish and Harry Kane. Spending half that sum on a defender who can walk into Guardiola’s starting XI will be seen as a sensible investment.

Arsenal haven’t run out of time to win the race for White, but the Gunners do need to stop dragging their feet. Every minute they wait to reach an accord with Brighton is a moment they give City the chance to pip them in this race. Losing their top defensive transfer target to City would be a bitter disappointment for Arteta and the club’s brain trust.