Roma join Man Utd and Arsenal in Ben White transfer race on Mourinho's advice as European giants eye £45m Brighton ace
ROMA have joined the race for Brighton star Ben White – the defender loads of major clubs across Europe are scrambling to sign.
The Italian sleeping giants have turned their attention to White on the instruction of new boss Jose Mourinho.
When Mourinho agreed to take charge in the Eternal City he made it clear the side needed strengthening, and the 23-year-old Seagulls ace is one of the names he gave them.
But the chances of Roma being able to seal a deal for White are remote, because there is so much interest in him Brighton know they can place a huge valuation on him – in excess of £45million.
Top-class defenders have become highly sought after in the modern game, with players like Virgil van Dijk and Sergio Ramos proof of just how important quality is at the back.
And White’s displays over the past two seasons – one of them on loan at Leeds – have had scouts across Europe purring.
Liverpool were watching him closely after that year at Elland Road, making inquiries to the Seagulls as the club were rejecting bids up to £25m from Leeds.
But it is not just Jurgen Klopp who admires from afar, Arsenal and Manchester United have also been tracking his performances in the Premier League.
With Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund all emerging as interested parties, the defender from Poole in Dorset is now one of the most coveted in Europe.
Though they have been toiling around the relegation places for most of the season, Brighton have actually got a back line which is admired by many – and had the team actually been able to score goals, they would never have been in trouble.
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Lewis Dunk is seen by many as the leader of the three-man defence which also includes the impressive Adam Webster, but it is actually White who has caught the most attention.
At 6ft 1in, he is not a giant, but such is his positional sense, speed and ability to read the game he is rarely exposed or caught out of position.
It is his footballing attributes that are most coveted, a defender who is also comfortable on the ball and likes to play out from the back, and also versatile enough to play in the deep holding role in midfield.
Having played under Marcelo Bielsa and now Graham Potter, White has been placed under huge demands physically and mentally to sustain his levels on a regular basis.
He featured in every minute of every game in the Championship where he was vital in helping Leeds to promotion, a notable achievement given how much running Bielsa demands from his players.
And nobody has played more games for Brighton this season than White, maintaining highly impressive levels of performance and consistency over two arduous campaigns.
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As Brighton boss Potter said: "He was an ever-present player for Leeds and has been for us. He has got that athleticism where he can just play, play, play.”
Brighton have no intention of selling and Potter believes he has a three-man defence on which he can build the base of a strong era for the Seagulls, just as soon as he can find a regular goalscorer.
But with so many big clubs circling it may prove difficult to keep hold of White if some serious offers arrive, even though he has three years left to go on his contract.
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