Liverpool talent-spotters have assessed Ben White closely over the past 12 months but have one major doubt over whether he is good enough to slot into their defence, Football Insider can reveal.
The Premier League champions did not pursue the 23-year-old Englishman over the summer despite scouting him extensively last season.
White was the subject of three failed bids from his 2019-20 loan club Leeds United – the third worth £30million including add-ons – before he signed a new four-year Brighton contract at the start of last month.
A recruitment source has told Football Insider that White remains on Liverpool’s radar following the summer sale of Dejan Lovren.
The Merseysiders opted not to replace the Croatian with a senior centre-back and that decision will be placed under the microscope in the coming months after Virgil van Dijk’s devastating injury.
The defensive colossus ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Everton and is facing an uphill battle to play again this season.
It leaves Liverpool with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez as their only two centre-backs with Premier League experience.
Football Insider first revealed in October of last year that Liverpool were keeping tabs on the Seagulls ace.
White is said to have scored excellent data metrics on Liverpool’s sophisticated tracking tools as the club assess centre-backs who can fit into Jurgen Klopp’s style of play.
He can carry the ball forward long distances and is very comfortable distributing it under pressure, so much so was even been used in a midfield anchorman role by Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa last season.
One area where White has not performed so well is in aerial duels, partly as a consequence of his 6ft frame.
By centre-back standards, the Brighton man is far from a colossal figure and that was one area seen as a weakness at Leeds.
Even Gomez, whose playing style is not too dissimilar to White, is 6ft 2in and has a better success in defensive headers and clearances.
White’s game is built on his awareness, mobility, timing and outstanding distribution.
He was an ever-present in Leeds’ Championship-winning campaign, remarkably playing every single minute of their 46 matches.
White has gone on to start all five of Brighton’s league matches this season in the new-look three-man defence deployed by Graham Potter.
In other news, Liverpool have agreed last-gasp £3.5m deal.