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Insider says Leeds have ‘sense of resignation’ as Ben White hopes fade

Leeds United are coming round to the acceptance that their hopes of keeping Ben White for a second season are fading, amid claims he will sign for one of Liverpool, Man City or Manchester United.

White, 22, has been a revelation at Elland Road this season after signing on a season’s loan from Brighton.

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Having played every minute of Leeds’ promotion-chasing campaign, his partnership alongside Liam Cooper formed the bedrock of a defence that conceded the fewest goals in the league (30) at the time of football’s hiatus.

His performances attracted the attentions of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, with one outlet suggesting he’d be a perfect Dejan Lovren replacement despite Reds scouts identifying one major flaw in the defender’s game.

Leeds are understandably keen to turn White’s temporary spell in Yorkshire permanent, and one young Whites fan in particular attempted to aid his club by writing a letter to Brighton offering his entire £15.07 fortune to seal the deal.

However, Leeds and Liverpool are not alone in their pursuit of White and the defender – one day tipped for England honours – has also been linked with Manchester City and Manchester United, who are both in need of defensive reinforcements this season.

As a result, Leeds’ prospects of keeping White for a second season look increasingly helpless and The Athletic journalist Phil Hay, who has close links with the club, admits there is a sense of resignation over their hopes of keeping the player.

“He’s had Liverpool on his case right throughout the season,” he said of White on The Phil Hay Show podcast.

“Their talent scout is Andy O’Brien, the former Leeds defender, who’s been watching him a lot, and I’m hearing that both City and Manchester United are keen as well.”

Hay said Leeds are desperate to sign White as they target a return to the top flight – but reckons a move to one of the Premier League’s top clubs is now inevitable.

“The more I speak to Leeds about White, the more I sense a kind of resignation about the possibility of him being here for a second year,” he said.



“I think they feel that the improvement he’s made this season and the attributes that he’s got are kind of tailor-made for a top-six club to have a go if they’ve got the money and to take a chance on him.

“They would love to keep him and they will certainly try if they do go up.

“Bielsa’s made a huge impact on him, but I think, ironically, the effect of Bielsa’s impact is going to be that he is now such a prospect and he does look so good in so many respects that Leeds probably won’t be able to compete.

“If you get into the bull ring and ultimately you’ve got Liverpool, Manchester City and others offering you contracts, offering you money, big fees, it’s going to override everything, and I wouldn’t blame anybody who had the chance to go to Liverpool and decided to take it.”


Ben White ‘good enough to start for Liverpool’

Liverpool are in the market for a new defensive option with Dejan Lovren likely to depart and the Reds have scouted White extensively.

And Hay reckons that so good is White, that the player has the quality to step in their defence alongside Virgil van Dijk straight away.

“They’re just in such a great position at the minute and he is somebody who is going to improve massively,” Hay added.

“You’d like to think he’d have the confidence to say, ‘If Liverpool want to have a dabble with me then I want to have a dabble with them’.”


READ MORE: Tributes pour in as former Liverpool striker Michael Robinson passes away


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