In the last few weeks, reports have emerged that Arsenal’s starting right-back, Ben White, is close to putting pen to paper on a contract extension.
The defender joined the Gunners from Brighton in July 2021 as Mikel Arteta valued him at £50m, despite contrary fan opinions. However, since then, the Englishman has become a staple in the Arsenal backline, and with his cheeky antics and undeniable ability, he has become a fan favourite at the Emirates.
3 reasons why Ben White’s contract extension is massive
Here’s why extending White’s contract is huge for the Gunners.
1. Ben & Bukayo’s bond
After his first season in red and white, where he often found himself as a centre-back, William Saliba’s integration to the side saw the 26-year-old redefine himself as a right-back. Since then, he has formed an established partnership with England teammate, and Hale End graduate, Bukayo Saka.
White’s position change has played an integral part in Saka’s development, and their partnership gets the best out of the winger. Before White’s transition, teams would often use their winger and full-back to double up defensively on Saka, in an attempt to nullify his attacking capabilities. However, with the athleticism that White has, he constantly creates overlapping runs (1st in the Premier League this campaign) to force one of the defenders to leave Saka, giving the winger more room to create opportunities.
"“I’m there to help him get into positions where he can do what he is so good at. He makes it so much easier than it should be” Ben White on Bukayo Saka [Sky Sports] “I’m there to help him get into positions where he can do what he is so good at. He makes it so much easier than it should be”"
Ben White’s defensive ability also allows Bukayo Saka to commit offensively without any worry that the space he has vacated may be offensively exploited by the opposition. As Arsenal often commit to a high and persistent press, Ben White’s cover for Saka and one-on-one ability allow Arsenal to retrieve the ball in the fashion they wish.
Ben White feels that the English pair have a somewhat telepathic relationship with one another on the pitch. Due to this connection, the focus and attention that the duo demand on the right, often also allows opportunities for diagonal balls and switch passes to exploit the lack of attention on the opposite flank.
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