Mikel Arteta has already identified Ben White's ideal Arsenal defensive partner

Arsenal are on the verge of completing the signing of Ben White after agreeing a £50million deal in principle with Brighton.

Despite boasting a wealth of central defensive options, the Gunners are set to make the 23-year-old their headline summer recruit with Mikel Arteta keen to install the England international the bedrock of a new-look defence.

With David Luiz having departed at the end of last season and William Saliba joining Marseille on loan, Arteta was keen to purchase a central defender with the sort of composure and passing range that are hallmarks of White’s game.

Once the formalities of his move are completed, White will compete with the likes of Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari and Gabriel Magalhaes for starting spot in Arteta’s strongest XI.

But, according to The Times, the Arsenal manager believes a centre-half combination of White and Gabriel, who joined from Lille last summer in a £27m deal, represents the best possible combination available to him when everyone is fit.

Gabriel enjoyed a superb start to his Arsenal career, winning the club’s Player of the Month award on three successive occasions, but his form nosedived midway through a difficult campaign for him and his club alike.

The 23-year-old was due to miss pre-season training after he was selected to represent Brazil at the upcoming Olympics, but a minor injury has put paid to that and he will step-up his rehabilitation at the club’s training ground when it re-opens next week following a minor Covid breakout.

Arsenal, meanwhile, were in action again on Saturday, twice coming from behind to draw 2-2 with Scottish champions Rangers at Ibrox.

New signing Nuno Tavares opened his goalscoring account following his move from Benfica on his non-competitive debut, while Eddie Nketiah, bagged a late equaliser.

‘Overall I’m really pleased with the performance,’ said Arteta afterwards. ‘I think we dominated the game, we created so many chances – I counted about eight or 10 clear chances to score – but this game is decided in both boxes.

‘We weren’t clinical in the opponent’s box and we conceded two goals from two corners, which were the only chances they had apart from the counter-attack from our own corner.

‘It’s much better from the other day and you tell that physically we were already better in the second game, the organisation was better, individually they played better, but I really liked the collective understanding of the game and how we executed a lot of things we’ve been working on in the training pitch.’

For more stories like this, check our sport page

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Source: Read Full Article