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Arsenal should sign England’s ‘Ferdinand-esque’ Ben White to replace David Luiz, says David Seaman

By Ben Green

Published: 10:50, 24 June 2021

Arsenal legend David Seaman has identified Brighton and England defender Ben White as an ideal candidate to replace David Luiz.

White, 23, rose to prominence on loan with Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United in 2019/20, helping the West Yorkshire club seal their long-awaited return to the Premier League, before performing similar heroics in the heart of Brighton’s defence the season just gone.

Renowned for his competent ball-playing qualities, White regularly occupied a midfield role under Bielsa at Elland Road, but on the South Coast the versatile centre-half has been a consistent first-teamer as part of Graham Potter’s back three.

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His impressive showings for the Seagulls culminated in a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad this month, where he played in the warm-up fixtures against Austria and Romania, before being given the nod for Euro 2020 after Trent Alexander-Arnold pulled out through injury.

Having missed out on European competition for 2021/22, Arsenal are in serious need of reinforcements, particularly as influential defender Luiz will depart when his contract expires this summer, and former goalkeeper Seaman believes White could remedy the Brazilian’s void.

It is believed the Gunners have already had an offer of around £40m rejected for White, but Seaman believes Mikel Arteta should pull out all the stops to get the deal over the line, telling Goal: “He’s got everything [needed] to go and take hold of it and give it his best shot.

“He’s got the physique, he’s got the temperament. At Leeds it’s a high-press, high-tempo game, so his fitness is also not in doubt.

“The only question mark you can put on him is can he play in the big games? But we’ll just have to wait and see, because he’s not played in them yet.

“Hopefully he will go on and play for England and when he does that, hopefully he will carry on [with his development].

“Would he be a good signing for Arsenal? Of course he would because he’s a good player.”

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White: I model my game on Rio Ferdinand

Arsenal are not the only club linked with a move for the Brighton man, with Manchester United also thought to be sniffing around, and White’s own assessment of his playing style will have done nothing to quell the reported interest emerging from Old Trafford.

During England’s ‘media day’ as part of the Three Lions’ pre-Euro 2020 preparations, White was pressed on the players who inspired him during his childhood, and he name-checked a certain Rio Ferdinand.

“I think it is a little bit of everyone, trying to pick little bits out of each defender,” said White.

“Obviously watching the Premier League every week you can see the different types of players and pick different things out of each player.”

However, when pushed to name just one player, he added: “Rio Ferdinand, that was the one for me.”

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