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Ben White: Brighton reject £40m transfer bid from Arsenal for England international defender

Arsenal are expected to make another offer for Brighton defender White as talks between two clubs are ongoing; 23-year-old centre-back made 36 Premier League appearances for Brighton last season and earned England call-up in May

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Dharmesh Sheth reports Arsenal have had an initial £40m bid for England defender Ben White rejected by Brighton.

Brighton have rejected a £40m bid from Arsenal for defender Ben White.

Talks are ongoing between the two clubs.

Arsenal are expected to go back with an improved offer for the 23-year-old centre-back, who made 36 Premier League appearances for Brighton this season after spending the 2019-20 season on loan at Leeds.

White impressed as Brighton survived relegation and finished 16th in the Premier League with the joint-best defence in the bottom half of the league (46 goals conceded).

Brighton's Ben White will be in England's provisional squad for Euro 2020
Image: White was a mainstay for Brighton in the 2020-21 season

White earned his first England call-up in May when he was named in Gareth Southgate's provisional 33-man squad for Euro 2020.

He was one of seven players cut from the squad on June 1, but later replaced Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Arsenal are looking to bolster their defence after finishing eighth in the Premier League and missing out on European football for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

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Last season, Gabriel, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, and Rob Holding were the most-used players in the middle as Arsenal conceded the third-fewest league goals behind only Manchester City and Chelsea.

White, Ramsdale interest suggests defensive priority for Arsenal

Sky Sports' Nick Wright:

"Arsenal had the third-best defensive record in the Premier League last season, conceding just 39 goals across their 38 fixtures, but their interest in White and Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale suggests Mikel Arteta regards defensive improvement as a priority this summer.

"The Gunners do look light at centre-back following David Luiz's departure. William Saliba is due to return from his loan spell with Nice ahead of the new campaign and will hope to compete for a place in the side but Arteta evidently feels an external solution is required.

"White impressed for Brighton during his first season in the top flight, starting all but two of their Premier League fixtures and at times featuring in central midfield. The 23-year-old's performances earned him a place in England's Euro 2020 squad.

Aaron Ramsdale and Dean Henderson
Image: Aaron Ramsdale has joined up with England's Euro 2020 squad

"White's ball-playing ability and age make him an enticing proposition for Arsenal and they doubtless see similar qualities in Ramsdale.

"The goalkeeper, also 23 and also called up to the England squad this week, showed his potential during a difficult season with Sheffield United and is comfortable playing out from the back.

"Arsenal's interest in Ramsdale may cast doubt on Bernd Leno's future. Together with the club's pursuit of White, it also shows Arteta wants a defensive refresh as a priority."

Arsenal fixtures 2021/22: Gunners start with Bees & Chelsea

Arsenal Fixtures 2021/22

Arsenal will start their 2021/22 Premier League campaign away at newcomers Brentford on Saturday August 14.

Mikel Arteta's side, who finished a disappointing eighth in the Premier League table, then have a London derby at the Emirates against European champions Chelsea on August 21, before going to current champions Manchester City on August 28.

Arsenal's first north London derby comes on the weekend of September 25 at home to Tottenham, while the return fixture will be on the weekend of January 15 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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