Leeds United face a major new hurdle in their bid to prise Ben White from Brighton as Chelsea plot a move for Lewis Dunk.
United are in the market for multiple new centre-backs this window and among their top targets is 2019-20 loan sensation White with early talks held.
But Leeds’ hopes of persuading Brighton to sell have been dashed by Chelsea’s need for a proven centre-back and their interest in the south-coast club’s skipper Dunk.
A United source has told Football Insider that they do not expect to have any chance of landing White if the Seagulls were to lose Dunk.
The 22-year-old would be seen as a like-for-like replacement for the one-time England international, who formed an impressive partnership with Adam Webster for much of the 2019-20 season.
Football Insider revealed on Monday that Chelsea are weighing up a surprise move for Dunk as they look to recruit a battle-hardened centre-back this summer.
Graham Potter can call upon four senior centre-backs at Brighton, with Shane Duffy and converted left-back Dan Burn also on the club’s books.
That had given Leeds hopes of a deal for White, who has only ever played two times for his parent club.
He was instrumental in their historic promotion-clinching campaign and his value has rocketed to beyond the £35million mark.
White has also benefitted immensely from Leeds and the masterful coaching of Marcelo Bielsa, and has formed strong connections with the players at the club including best pal Kalvin Phillips.
The consistent public message from Brighton is they have big plans for the 22-year-old, and they have no intention of letting him go in the upcoming window.
White was an ever-present in Leeds’ title-winning campaign and even stepped in to play in midfield when Phillips was unavailable through injury or suspension.
In other news, Michael Brown drops major Leeds United transfer reveal.