Brighton & Hove Albion have been blown away by the development of Ben White at Leeds United this season, Football Insider has learned.
The Championship promotion chasers have made the centre-back, 21, a mainstay of their team after he joined on a season-long loan from the Premier League club during the summer transfer window.
A Brighton source has told Football Insider that the club have been “staggered” by how quickly White has improved under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa.
They have always regarded the defender as a player with the pedigree and potential to thrive in the Premier League rather than just the lower divisions.
But they did not expect him to make the step up to the Championship look such a simple one.
The Seagulls now value White at more than £20million and are looking forward to welcoming him into their senior squad when his loan spell finishes.
Football Insider revealed in August how Leeds had been blocked from sealing a full-time White move during summer negotiations as they pushed for the obligation to sign him permanently at the end of the season to be included in the deal.
But Brighton made it clear they wanted a straight loan rather than for the deal to be converted into a loan-to-buy transfer.
That stance has been vindicated by the hugely encouraging start to the third loan of White’s career after previous spells in League One and League Two with Peterborough United and Newport County respectively.
He has started all 10 of United’s league matches and was named the PFA Championship player of the month for August.
In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the club are close to sealing a new deal after offer accepted.