By Noel Whelan

29th Jun, 2021 | 12:51pm

Pundit: Arsenal are close to signing the ultimate 'playmaker' in White

Noel Whelan has insisted Brighton defender Ben White is exactly what Arsenal have been missing ahead of a potential transfer.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, dubbed the 23-year-old a defensive “playmaker” thanks to his ball-playing abilities at the back.

As reported by the Athletic’s David Ornstein (June 24th), Arsenal are closing in on a potential £50million-plus deal to sign White from Brighton.

It is said face-to-face talks have taken place between all parties and rival suitors are under the impression he will join the Gunners.

Football Insider revealed on June 17th White has told friends he expects to join the north Londoners.

Whelan watched the defender star in-person week after week during his loan spell at Leeds United.

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He suggested the centre-back is exactly the type of defender Arsenal need.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “I think the international cap has really pushed his value up.

I called it when he first came to Leeds that he’d be playing international football in two, three years.

“With the style of play, he’s a centre-back that is a modern-day centre-back. The one thing Arsenal have been missing is that playmaker from the back, somebody with that bit of pace.

“He ticks every box for me, Ben White, hence why we were priced out of him. We knew he was going to be a star, a big player playing international football.

“He does fit Arsenal down to a tee, I’ll be honest with you. If it wasn’t going to be Leeds, I think Ben White going to Arsenal, that is the style of player that he is now.

“In my eyes, that background of Arsenal, how they play the game, there’s no doubt about it, they need a rebuild at the back, especially in that centre-half area.”

White played in all but two of Brighton’s Premier League games last term.

He has two England caps under his belt so far.

In other news, another Arsenal defender deal is all but done, Football Insider can reveal.