Ben White vows to raise Arsenal level and reveals Mikel Arteta’s key role in £50m transfer

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Ben White has signed a five-year deal as Arsenal’s third signing of the summer window (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Ben White has signed a five-year deal as Arsenal’s third signing of the summer window (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

New Arsenal signing Ben White has revealed the key role played by Mikel Arteta in selling him the club over the summer.

On Friday, the versatile England centre-back became Arsenal’s third signing of the window - following the additions of Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga - after completing a £50million move from Brighton, signing a long-term contract understood to be five years in length.

It completes a high-profile transfer saga that has rumbled on for some time, with the Gunners initially seeing an offer rebuffed before the deal was finally completed following White’s post-European Championship holiday in Greece.

The 23-year-old - who has taken the no4 shirt previously worn by the likes of Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas and Per Mertesacker - is now eager to hit the ground running at Arsenal and insists he did not need much convincing to move to the Emirates, though several upbeat discussions with manager Arteta obviously left him in no doubt as to the benefits of such a switch.

“Obviously Arsenal speaks for itself and I spoke to the gaffer a number of times during the summer. I got good vibes and the way the gaffer wants to play, I think I can produce quality in this team and hopefully get Arsenal back,” White told Arsenal’s official website.

“I’ve played in the Football League, I’ve played for a number of teams on loan and the hunger’s still there. I’m really happy to be at a massive club like this and hopefully bring the level up of this team.

“When times get hard in games, I can step up and control situations. I’m very relaxed on the ball and through that I can produce quality in bad moments of the game.

“My main [position] is obviously centre-back. That’s where I’ve developed over the years. I’ve slotted into different positions to help the team and I feel like I can do that to help the team. If I need to do that this season, I’ll definitely be up for it.”

White admitted that the transfer had taken longer to wrap up than he initially expected, having first been informed of the interest during England’s run to the final of Euro 2020.

But he described finally sealing the move as an “absolutely unbelievable” feeling.

“It’s been hard to not tell anyone to be fair. I told my family to keep it quiet. Even when I was on holiday I was getting asked whether I am or not. It was tough but I managed to keep it [quiet],” White added.

“I think [I found out] when I was with England, that’s when it got a bit more serious. It was obviously nice to find out and to be here is absolutely unbelievable.”

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