Two seasons agom]n Arsenal completed the signing of Ben White from Brighton for a fee of £50m. His price tag was the main talking point of the move, with many saying they paid too much for him and he would not live up to expectations, ultimately flopping at the club. Focusing on the present day, he is one of Mikel Arteta’s most important players in the squad. He puts up outstanding performances on a consistent basis, to the point no one bats an eyelid because it’s a regular occurrence.
Throughout his time at the club, he has been deployed on the right side of the defense. At center back and right back, White has showed the ability to play at a high level in both positions with ease. His main position was at right center back until Frenchman William Saliba returned from his loan spell at Marseille. However, Saliba took the league by storm and clearly showed he was the player to partner Gabriel Magalhães.
This saw him have to develop into a right back, a position he barely played in his career. Yet, he has been transformed into one of the best at what he does. A player like White is what a manager dreams of. There weree no complaints, no fuss; he just kept his head down and established his position elsewhere in the squad.
White is quick, good on the ball, strong in the air, and has an amazing relationship with Bukayo Saka. He brings out the best of Saka and without him on the field, one can see the effect. There are fewer quick passes, overlaps, and a general lack of sharpness. So far this season, he has completed an average of 61.57 passes per 90 minutes, putting him in the 97th percentile.
Taking a closer look at his defensive qualities, he is aggressive, amazing in 1v1 situations, and quick at recoveries. A standout performance was against Crystal Palace in the opener last season. He was put up against Wilfred Zaha and kept him quiet all game, something not many fullbacks can relate to.
Consistency is key
Something to note as well is his availability. White has played 93 games so far for Arsenal, failing to feature in just 11 throughout his time at the club. There is not much more one can ask for from a player. Mikel Arteta picked out a gem in the market when everyone else thought he was a waste of money.
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He knows how much it means to put good performances in on a regular basis, saying in an interview, “You can do well, but then you’ve got to do it again and again and again for the whole season. Otherwise, it’s worthless.”
This type of mentality is crucial when going up against the likes of Manchester City for the Premier League title. And, even when it comes to other competitions like the Champions League, which Arsenal is in for the first time since 2016/17.
Committing his future to the club
Reports have emerged that Arsenal are looking to extend White’s contract at the club. He currently has three years left, and it would seem that getting it done now is a reward for his performances. If he was to extend his contract he would join Saka, Martin Ødegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba who have all signed new deals with the club this year.