Noel Whelan has claimed that Leeds United will have to “walk away” from a deal for Ben White if Brighton insist on demanding £50million for him.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Jason Jones, the former Elland Road hitman suggested that his old club cannot afford to pile all of their funds into signing the centre-back this summer.
As revealed by Football Insider, the Whites had a bid of around £30 million turned down by the Seagulls last week.
The Sun now report that Manchester United have also entered the race for the 22-year-old, and that it might need a fee of around £50m to finally tempt Brighton into selling him.
But Whelan has argued that Leeds cannot afford to go that high for the player.
When asked whether Marcelo Bielsa’s men were in danger of being priced out of a deal during an interview with Football Insider, he said: “I think so.
“I think £30million would have been okay for a very good young player who I believe will play for England, but right now he is not the finished article.
“He’s done well in the Championship for Leeds United, he’s a fantastic football player, he ticks all the boxes for a modern centre-back – but he hasn’t been proven in the Premier League.
“I think £30million was a very good offer but that’s probably where you’ve got to draw the line considering you’ve got to bring in four to five players. Leeds can’t be putting all their money into one player. All in all, if it’s going up to £50million, we’ve got to walk away.”
White quickly established himself as a key presence for Leeds during his loan spell in Yorkshire last season, featuring in every Championship game as the Whites won promotion to the top flight for the first time in 16 years.
He has made just two senior appearances for Brighton in his career, with both coming in the EFL Cup back in 2016.