Leeds United made Ben White. I don’t care if every Brighton and Hove Albion fan makes the long trip to my door and each tells me it was a Seagulls masterstroke to send him to Elland Road. They would all be wrong; Leeds United made Ben White.
It’s not just the coaching of Marcelo Bielsa that made Ben White. No, it’s the style of play that he was exposed to. It’s the players that he played amongst. It’s the team that he slipped so effortlessly into. It’s the fans that adored him. It’s Leeds United that made him.
That’s why it was kind of galling that Brighton so flippantly batted back THREE serious, and quite sensible, bids for a 22-year-old with just one season of experience under his belt. Those bids hit the heights of £25, a figure that would have broken Leeds United’s transfer record paid to land Rio Ferdinand from West Ham United.
As it was, Brighton’s determination not to sell, mixed with pettiness in the way they handled it, saw Leeds United not only break their transfer record with one purchase but get a replacement for Ben White £13m cheaper.
Ben White was ‘disappointed’ when the move to Leeds fell through said his agent when speaking to Sky Sports. If his agent wanted him to avoid that disappointment, he should have advised his client to push for a transfer, put in a request and essentially remove a big chunk of the negotiating position that Brighton held. He didn’t, Brighton remained resolute. His agent, Alex Levack, remained a bit wet.
They offloaded their surplus centre-backs and it was this that convinced Ben White to sign a new deal. You know what, good luck to the lad, he did brilliantly for us when at our club. Continue to be successful, Ben.
In the end, we are all winners. Ben White gets a pay-rise he deserves and Leeds United get a German international at half the outlay it would have cost to bring the Brighton youngster to Elland Road permanently.