By Wayne Veysey

7th Sep, 2020 | 6:42pm

McLeish Exclusive: Leeds tipped to sign centre-back 'even better' than Ben White

Leeds United have suffered a major blow in failing to sign Ben White on a permanent deal but could land someone even better using their scouting database.

That is according to ex-Aston Villa, Rangers and Scotland manager Alex McLeish, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge about the foiled pursuit of the Brighton centre-back.

Leeds tabled a series of bids for White rising up to £30m, as revealed by Football Insider, but the Seagulls would not budge.

It was subsequently announced by Brighton last week that White had signed a new four-year contract.

“That is a wee blow to the momentum that Bielsa was gathering, there’s no doubt
about that,” McLeish told Football Insider. “There was a big fight to try and get him, increased fees and then somewhere along the line, you have to say we’ve done enough and we need to move on to the next target.

“In the modern day, in my day in the Premier League we had some database, we had players, another five, if we didn’t get the one we wanted then we would look at the next bunch of players.

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“So, you would expect Bielsa’s team behind the scenes, his analysts, such is the depth he goes into things, you would imagine that they have one or two targets could be as good as White or even better, it might be a player who’s got more experience.”

Leeds want to bolster their defence line as they only have two senior centre-backs despite the £13m recent arrival of German Robin Koch.

They are in advanced talks to sign Dinamo Zagreb centre-back Josko Gvardiol after offering him a lucrative long-term deal.


United are ready to hand the Croatia Under-21 international a big pay hike to lure him to Yorkshire as well as pay a fee worth up to £18million including add-ons.

Once Leeds are confident they have an agreement in place for Gvardiol, Pascal Struijk is then set for a season-long loan with Huddersfield Town one potential option.

In other news, Leeds United have set their sights on alternative new signing after forward pursuit collapses.