Leeds United are braced for the possibility of Brighton recalling Ben White from his season-long loan in January, Football Insider understands.
The Championship promotion chasers have made the centre-back, 21, a mainstay of their starting XI after he joined from the Premier League club in the summer.
A Leeds source has told Football Insider that the club are hopeful of holding on to White for the entire campaign but are aware his outstanding performances have alerted his parent club.
Brighton can activate a mid-season release clause in White’s loan in January, something that would create a massive hole in Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Graham Potter’s side are well served at centre-back, with Lewis Dunk and summer signing Adam Webster emerging as the regular starting pair while the manager can also call upon giant Dan Burn and Republic of Ireland international Shane Duffy.
An injury to one of the senior stars could prompt a re-think on the south coast, while another possibility is that a Premier League top-six club could make a big-money swoop for White.
As revealed by Football Insider, Liverpool are among the clubs who are keeping close tabs on White, who is now valued by the Seagulls at more than £20million.
He has started all 14 of United’s Championship matches this season and was named the PFA Championship player of the month for August.
Football Insider revealed in August how Leeds had been blocked by Brighton from sealing a full-time White move during summer negotiations.
This is the third loan of White’s career after previous spells in League One and League Two with Peterborough United and Newport County respectively.