Arsenal

Arsenal's pursuit of Ben White suggests a huge shift in the club's transfer strategy

Harry Symeou
Arsenal are said to be making progress in their efforts to land Brighton's Ben White this summer
Arsenal are said to be making progress in their efforts to land Brighton's Ben White this summer / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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Arsenal are edging closer to reaching an agreement with Brighton said to be worth in the region of £50m for the England defender, Ben White.

The latest update regarding the Gunners' pursuit of the centre-back was provided on Thursday afternoon by The Athletic's David Ornstein, who reported face-to-face meetings between representatives have been held.

The club's interest in the 23-year-old has been well publicised in recent weeks and while the supporters will be delighted to see Arsenal are willing to act this summer in an attempt to close the gap on the top four - the question is, are they about to overpay for White?

Contrary to what some believe, Arsenal have spent heavily in recent seasons - the issue has been that they've spent badly. That's just one of the consequences of poor management at the Emirates and the lack of a well thought-out strategy has been the biggest problem rather than the ownership's perceived tightness.

With all due respect to Brighton, White has shown signs of a player destined for bigger and better things. He's a ball-playing centre-half capable of stepping into midfield, making him the perfect fit for Mikel Arteta's side, who look to play their way out from the back. The former Leeds United loanee is what you would describe as press-resistant, he's homegrown and given his potential you can understand the appeal.

However, if Arsenal are in a position to spend in the region of £50m on a defender, you could argue they'd be better served signing somebody you'd describe as the finished article, rather than another prospect. After all, their aim will be to qualify for the Champions League next season, not three or four years down the line.

What we're seeing here is a shift in the club's transfer strategy and one that is, quite frankly, long overdue. On the face of it, it seems like the Gunners are about to overpay for a player some will have their reservations about, but they'd be spending big on a player with the potential to be sold on for a similar figure if not more further down the line, and that is the key.

Putting the natural depreciation of a player aside, Arsenal have typically spent large sums on players who by the time their initial contract approaches its final years have hardly any sell-on value at all. Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi are prime examples of this, but an investment of this sort is more likely to present the opportunity to recuperate your initial investment further down the line should you wish or need to do so.

Arsenal have been accused of no longer acting like a big club in recent years, and signing players with a view to the future as opposed to the here and now won't help change that perception. But the shift in strategy this transfer (should it be completed) would represent, is necessary if the Gunners are to close the gap on the top four again.

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