One of the stories of the summer is finally drawing to its conclusion as Arsenal have agreed to sign Ben White on a club record fee for a defender at £50m from Brighton and Hove Albion.
It was never in doubt, was it? While a Bukayo Saka-led England reaching the final of Euro 2020 put a hold on matters with Ben White, there was always a growing acceptance that at some stage he would become an Arsenal player.
Not just any signing either, a full £50m worth which constitutes the largest amount the Gunners have ever spent on a defender.
Say what one will about the outlay or the necessity of the transfer, and ignoring the farce that has been ongoing with William Saliba for two seasons, this is a fantastic signing. It really is.
Arsenal agree to sign Ben White on club record £50m transfer from Brighton subject to medical this summer transfer window
As first reported by Tom Barclay of The Sun and reinforced by David Ornstein of The Athletic, Arsenal have agreed a deal in principle to sign White from Brighton after a fee was agreed.
All that is left to do is cross the t’s and dot the i’s with the 23-year-old completing a medical, which he will do once he returns from his holidays on July 26. A well deserved rest.
Having signed Nuno Tavares and with Albert Sambi Lokonga the imminent second arrival, Arsenal have finally wrapped up their third addition of the summer. Granted, Mikel Arteta can’t be conclusive on the deal until the medical is passed, but there is no doubt that he will pass with flying colours and the club can begin planning on the next stage.
Before he does arrive there is every chance, one hopes, of other targets making their way through the doors. A fair few sales need to be sorted out, too.
However, anyone who envisaged Arsenal spending £50m on any player this summer, let alone a defender, is either telling porky pies or is a gambling man. Nobody saw this coming. Nonetheless, it’s an area of the pitch that Arteta has been desperate to see to – partly due to a lack of trust in Saliba as well as David Luiz’s departure – and the fee is felt a worthwhile investment for a player of his ability.
Putting the amount to one side, the Gunners have got their hands on one the best central defenders in the country who with a five-year deal behind him will reinforce this defence well into what is hoped to be the resurgent years.
The praise for White is widespread. An exceedingly composed centre-back with versatility, command and mobility, some clubs do have to pay a Premier League premium every now and then.
Arsenal now have.