William Saliba has shown he can be Ben White’s perfect partner if Arsenal complete £40m transfer

Arsenal have been linked with a somewhat surprising move for Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White.

Central defence is an area of strength for Gunners manager Mikel Arteta despite the fact that David Luiz will depart the Emirates Stadium when his contract expires at the end of the month.

But despite having Rob Holding, Pablo Mari, Gabriel Magalhaes as well as Konstantinos Mavropanos and William Saliba – both returning from loan spells – it would appear that the Spaniard is keen to increase his options.

According to The Athletic, White has emerged as a ‘concrete target’ in this summer’s transfer window and reportedly expected to cost in the region of £40-50million.

As expected, with any Arsenal transfer rumour, there has been a huge reaction on social media.

Some are very much behind the idea of White joining the club, whilst others are concerned that it could mean the end of Saliba’s career in north London without even making a senior appearance following his £27m move from Saint-Etienne two summers ago.

However, judging by the Frenchman’s loan spell with Nice during the second half of the season, he can be the perfect partner for White at the heart of Arsenal’s defence if a £40m transfer goes ahead.

Whilst Saliba is naturally right-footed, in several of his appearances for Nice he played as the left-sided centre-back either in a back four or in a back three.

Of course, with White considered as a player identified as the right-sided defender Arteta wants, there could be the option to pair them together in his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

Ben White and William Saliba could be Arsenal's best central defensive partnership next season.
Ben White and William Saliba could be Arsenal’s best central defensive partnership next season.

One potential problem regarding this plan is Arteta’s preference to use a left-footer as his left-sided defender which would mean Gabriel and Mari have the advantage over Saliba.

With that said, the Arsenal manager has already revealed his plans for the 20-year-old ahead of pre-season training.

“You will see in the summer, the possible replacement,” said Arteta. “William [Saliba] is our player for sure and that’s the decision we’re going to be taking soon.

The summer window is officially open, and it’s going to be tough to keep up with the comings and goings in and out of the Emirates.

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“When we finish the season we will sit down and discuss the roles of every member in our squad and how they can fulfil that role.

“He’s our player so he’ll be back here for sure.

“After that, we will make a decision based on an agreement of the role each player is going to have in our squad.”

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