Leeds to now step up interest in SC Freiburg defender Robin Koch this weekend
Friday 21 August 2020 12:43, UK
Leeds have had a third bid – worth £25m – for Ben White rejected by Brighton.
The newly-promoted Premier League side have already seen bids of £18.5m and £22m turned down for the centre-back who enjoyed a successful loan spell at Elland Road last season.
White formed an impressive defensive partnership with Leeds captain Liam Cooper, featuring in all 46 league games, helping to produce 22 clean sheets as the club won the Championship title.
As a result, the 22-year-old has been identified as Marcelo Bielsa's number one defensive transfer target this summer, with the player reportedly turning down a third improved contract offer from Brighton.
Leeds will mark their return to the Premier League after a 16-year wait with a mouthwatering trip to champions Liverpool on the opening day of the new season.
White's current deal at the Amex Stadium runs until 2022 with the option of a further 12 months and Brighton boss Graham Potter is keen to integrate him into the first team this season.
Leeds will now step up their interest in SC Freiburg defender Robin Koch this weekend.
The Elland Road club have also seen a bid for Rangers winger Ryan Kent turned down as the club look to bolster their squad ahead of their Premier League opener against Liverpool at Anfield on the weekend of September 12.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland international Alfie McCalmont has signed a new four-year contract with Leeds.
"They're going to try [and sign him], they've already tried very hard," Sky Sports News' Tim Thornton told The Transfer Talk podcast
"He's the one they want, he was outstanding last season and he shone in a Leeds team that did incredibly well.
"But there are other teams interested as well - Liverpool have been linked with him and he's a Rolls Royce of a footballer. The talk at Leeds is if they get him and he plays every week in the Premier League next season, then he will be in Gareth Southgate's England squad for the Euros - that's how highly rated he is. Southgate has already picked him out as one to watch along with Kalvin Phillips, so he's an outstanding player.
"He could probably slot into any squad in the Premier League, but at Leeds he'll be guaranteed to play every week. Bielsa knows how to get the best out of him and he fixed the system at Leeds.
Opt in and bet £25 or more before 23:59 on Sunday to earn a free £5. Free bets will credited by 7pm on Monday.
"An interesting point regarding White - I'll rewind 12 months when Pontus Jansson left Leeds and I'd been told that White is the player Leeds want to replace him. There was a lot of talk of 'who is Ben White?', no one had heard of him at the time. But Bielsa was adamant that he was the player he wanted and that is one hell of a judgement call to get him in. He has been absolutely phenomenal.
"So they've had a couple of bids and we're expecting another bid to come in. The player loved his times at Leeds, but I think he's opened minded because he knows that potentially, there may be other offers.
"From a Brighton perspective, if bids are coming in, it's a win-win situation for them as well, so it's one to watch, but he's definitely top of the list as far as Leeds are concerned and he's the one player really that they would like to see slotting into the jigsaw this summer."
Every week throughout the window, the Transfer Talk podcast digs into the biggest storylines in the Premier League and around Europe, with debate and analysis from some of the most well connected reporters in the football world.
Download and subscribe in the link above, or find us wherever you get your podcasts.
The summer transfer window will run for 10 weeks from July 27 and close at 11pm on October 5.
A domestic-only window for trades between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on Sky Sports News and across Sky Sports' digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.