Ben White: Brighton defender agrees four-year contract amid Leeds interest

Leeds were unsuccessful with an initial £18.5m offer for White, before having two further bids of £22m and £25m turned down by Brighton

Ben White has signed a new four-year contract with Brighton
Image: Ben White has signed a new four-year contract with Brighton

Ben White has signed a new four-year contract with Brighton, ending speculation over a return to Leeds.

The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Elland Road, with Marcelo Bielsa's side recently unsuccessful with an initial £18.5m offer for the centre-back, before having two further bids of £22m and £25m turned down by Brighton.

White, who had two seasons plus the option of a third remaining on his previous contract, had rejected three offers of a new deal from the club but will be part of Graham Potter's squad for the coming season after agreeing terms until June 2024.

Ben White played in every Leeds league game last season
Image: White played in every Leeds league game last season

"I have been looking forward to working with Ben for a long time. He was a player I was well aware of, even before I came to the club," Potter told the club's website.

"He has gradually stepped up the EFL divisions, with Newport County, Peterborough United and Leeds United.

"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.

Timo Werner made his first Chelsea appearance in a pre-season friendly at Brighton 1:37
Timo Werner scored on his Chelsea debut as Frank Lampard's side drew 1-1 in a pre-season friendly at Brighton

"We are delighted to have agreed a new long-term contract with him, and I am sure our supporters will be looking forward to watching him play for the club."

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The defender enjoyed a hugely successful season on loan at Leeds, helping the club win the Championship and earn promotion to the Premier League.

White formed a solid defensive partnership with Leeds captain Liam Cooper last term. He featured in all 46 of the club's Championship games, helping to produce 22 clean sheets.

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He joined Brighton in 2014, graduating from the club's academy to make his senior debut in a 4-0 League Cup win over Colchester United in 2016.

Technical director Dan Ashworth believes Brighton's long-term plan for White remains on track.

"There has always been a strong belief in Ben at this football club, and his ability to play at this level of the game," said Ashworth. "This new contract is well deserved for Ben. He has worked incredibly hard, and has not been afraid of going out on loan. We have been delighted with his progress.

Ben White appears set to stay at Brighton this season
Image: Ben White will stay at Brighton this season

"Our academy and player loan department have done an excellent job to bring Ben through the club's younger teams, and then in helping to oversee his development while out on loan.

"He has played at almost every level of the professional game, and his development has been very well managed. His next challenge is to show his capabilities at the highest level of the domestic game."

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