Noel Whelan has tipped Leeds United to beat Arsenal to the signing of Robin Koch as Brighton dig their heels in over their valuation of defender Ben White.

The former Whites and Coventry striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed that the 24-year-old would be his preferred choice if a deal for White cannot be completed this summer.

Sky Sports revealed on Monday that Brighton will not sell White, 22, to Marcelo Bielsa’s side this summer after a third bid was rejected last week.

The report claimed that attentions have now been turned to SC Freiburg defender Koch who has been monitored by the club’s scouting department for some time.

The Germany international made 32 appearances in the Bundesliga last season and helped Freiburg finish eight in the table.

When believed Koch to be an adequate replacement for White but expects competition from a host of clubs for his signature, including Premier League giants Arsenal.

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“A German international and we know that they are bred very well over there,” he told Football Insider.

“They play the game the right well, very physical and technically very good as well.

“If we cannot get Ben White he would be my first choice to come in. I know the club have done their recon and others have looked at Koch as well, including Arsenal.”

The Athletic’s Phil Hay revealed yesterday that the German is keen on a move to Elland Road and that a deal could be swift if Leeds can agree a fee with Freiburg.

Koch, who has just one-year left on his contract in Germany, is valued at a reported £20million but with the player into the final 12 months of his deal Leeds may feel they can sign him for less.

In other Leeds United news, the club have been told the price Rangers will agree to sell Ryan Kent for this summer.