Mikel Arteta says Ben White fits the age and profile of Arsenal’s rebuild project after the defender completed his move from Brighton.
The 23-year-old centre-back is understood to have cost around £50 million – the third-highest transfer in the club’s history – and will immediately compete for a place in Mikel Arteta’s starting lineup.
White, who was part of England’s squad for the European Championships, is the Gunners’ third signing of the transfer window after Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares, both 21, joined from Anderlecht and Benfica respectively. Having also tied down a host of youngsters, it appears the club’s ambition is to build for the future.
“Ben was a top target for us and it’s great that we’ve completed his signing,” said manager Arteta.
“Ben has been educated with two very good clubs, Brighton and Leeds, in recent seasons. He has benefitted well from two very good coaching set-ups and has shown with both Brighton and on loan with Leeds what a strong talent he is.
He added: “Ben is an intelligent defender who is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and his style fits perfectly with us. And of course, he is still young, so his age and profile fits with what we are building here. We are all looking forward to Ben being central to our future long-term plans.”
Arsenal had the third-best defence last season but there’s still huge room for improvement. The recruitment of White suggests we’re not going to be resting on our laurels in that department.
Interestingly he becomes the third member of the current squad to hold the number 4 shirt after William Saliba and Mo Elneny. He also follows in the footsteps of Cesc Fabregas and Patrick Vieira; two of the club’s most illustrious players of the modern era.