Alex Levack: “Of course [he was disappointed]. He enjoyed his time at Leeds incredibly. They looked after him so well, the fans were fantastic to him. But when a football club don’t want to sell it’s very difficult.”
By Liam Grace
Last Updated: 02/09/20 8:57pm
Ben White was “disappointed” his summer move to Leeds collapsed but is now fully committed to Brighton after signing a new deal, says his agent Alex Levack.
The 22-year-old spent last season on loan at Elland Road, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side unsuccessful with an initial £18.5m offer for the centre-back, before having two further bids of £22m and £25m turned down by Brighton.
White, who had two seasons plus the option of a third remaining on his previous contract, had rejected three offers of a new deal from the club but will be part of Graham Potter’s squad for 2020/21 after agreeing terms until June 2024.
Speaking on The Transfer Show, White’s agent Levack revealed that his player was “disappointed” a move to Leeds never materialised, after he played in every Sky Bet Championship game last term to help the club seal the title.
When asked whether White was disappointed a move to Leeds fell through, Levack said: “Of course. He enjoyed his time at Leeds incredibly. They looked after him so well, the fans were fantastic to him. But when a football club don’t want to sell it’s very difficult.
“There was a tinge of disappointment but that passed quickly, Ben’s head is fully at Brighton and he wants to get cracking in the Premier League now.”
Levack says that White’s decision to sign a contract extension with the Seagulls was influenced by the club’s decision to offload fellow defenders Shane Duffy and Matt Clarke to Celtic and Derby on loan respectively.
“It dragged on for quite a long time, but I’m delighted for Ben that it got done,” he added. “He deserves it. The main consideration for us was whether or not he was going to play.
“On reflection, with the deal he’s just signed, also the fact Brighton let Shane Duffy leave, Matt Clarke going to Derby, that shows the intent that Ben is going back there to play.
“That was the most important factor with Ben signing a new contract.”
The defender enjoyed a hugely successful season on loan at Leeds, helping the club win the Championship and earn promotion to the Premier League.
White formed a solid defensive partnership with Leeds captain Liam Cooper last term. He featured in all 46 of the club’s Championship games, helping to produce 22 clean sheets.
He joined Brighton in 2014, graduating from the club’s academy to make his senior debut in a 4-0 League Cup win over Colchester United in 2016.
Technical director Dan Ashworth believes Brighton’s long-term plan for White remains on track.
“There has always been a strong belief in Ben at this football club, and his ability to play at this level of the game,” Ashworth said. “This new contract is well deserved for Ben. He has worked incredibly hard, and has not been afraid of going out on loan. We have been delighted with his progress.
“Our academy and player loan department have done an excellent job to bring Ben through the club’s younger teams, and then in helping to oversee his development while out on loan.
“He has played at almost every level of the professional game, and his development has been very well managed. His next challenge is to show his capabilities at the highest level of the domestic game.”
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