Brighton have secured Ben White to a new four-year contract after fending off interest from Leeds, who had three bids rejected, the last of about £25m. The 22-year-old played every minute as Leeds were promoted to the Premier League but Brighton stood firm with the centre-back an integral part of their plans.
Leeds eventually gave up in their pursuit of White and have signed the Freiburg defender Robin Koch. White has been tracked by Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United but is primed to be a key part of Graham Potter’s squad after seamlessly stepping up to the challenge of playing in the Championship having excelled on loan in League One and League Two with Peterborough and Newport respectively.
“He had a brilliant season helping Leeds to the title last season, and now he has the opportunity to show his qualities in the Premier League,” Potter said.
White, who also operated as a defensive midfielder under Marcelo Bielsa, joined Brighton after being released by Southampton as a 16-year-old. He had two years plus a third-year option remaining on his previous contract and rejected three offers before signing a deal until 2024. White is yet to play a league match for Brighton but is set for a key role. He played alongside Adam Webster and the captain, Lewis Dunk, who recently signed a new five-year contract, in a three-man defence in a friendly against Chelsea on Saturday.
Dan Ashworth, Brighton’s technical director, said the club always had a “strong belief” White could play in the top flight. “His next challenge is to show his capabilities at the highest level of the domestic game,” he said.
Brighton’s Glenn Murray is closing on a season’s loan to Watford after a medical on Tuesday, casting further doubt over the future of Troy Deeney, who is of interest to West Bromwich Albion. Murray, who turns 37 this month, scored two goals in 24 appearances last season. Deeney, 32, is one of Watford’s highest earners.
Elsewhere in the Championship, Trevor Birch has left his position as the Swansea chairman to become director of football operations at Tottenham. He will sit on a new football board, led by the chairman Daniel Levy, with Rebecca Caplehorn, the director of football administration and governance, and Steve Hitchen, who has been promoted to technical performance director.