Ben White is close to signing a new contract at Brighton, the south coast club fending off widespread interest from Premier League clubs.
The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Leeds, helping them earn promotion back to the Premier League. The Seagulls have been eager to tie him down now he's back at his parent club, and they seem certain to do so ahead of the new league season.
According to The Athletic, White will sign a new long-term contract with Brighton, ending what turned into a tense transfer saga. Talks between the two parties are going well, and are said to be heading “towards a positive conclusion”.
White has been at Brighton since 2014, when he joined the club as a youth player aged 16. Since being promoted to the senior setup two years later, he has gone on three separate loan spells, the most recent one being with Leeds last year.
Leeds have been desperate to sign the centre-back on a permanent deal, after a stellar season at Elland Road. The West Yorkshire club have had three bids rejected, including their most recent one worth £25m, which would be a record-breaking sale for Brighton.
White played every single minute of Leeds’ season across all competitions, scoring his first and only goal in the final league game against Charlton. The 22-year-old was named the club’s Young Player of the Year, playing a key role in helping Marcelo Bielsa’s side return to the Premier League.
Leeds are not the only club who have been named as a potential suitor to White, with some of the big six expressing an interest. Chelsea were linked with the Englishman before settling on Brazilian powerhouse Thiago Silva, while Tottenham were also rumoured to be interested.
White has made just two senior appearances for Brighton, mainly owed to his prolonged periods out on loan. Nevertheless, manager Graham Potter is keen to integrate him into his first-team setup, as he looks to reinforce ahead of next season.
Potter has already made one strong piece of business this summer, tying down captain Lewis Dunk to a new five-year contract. It comes amid previous interest from Chelsea, with the fellow centre-back committing his future to Brighton until 2025.
Brighton are weeks away from the start of the Premier League season, with their first fixture on 14 September. They host Chelsea at the AMEX Stadium, kicking off later due to the visitors’ recent involvement in the Champions League.