Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa

Noel Whelan believes that Ben White would love to return to Leeds United on a permanent deal from Brighton this summer. 

The former Leeds striker and boyhood fan of the club, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admits it is “very disappointing” that Brighton are playing hardball but insists a deal is not dead in the water.

As revealed by Football Insider, the Whites have already had several offers turned down for the 22-year-old including one worth up to £30m including add-ons.

White was an ever-present in the Championship last season as he started all 46 league games under Marcelo Bielsa.

In comparison, he has played just twice for the senior side at Brighton.

Whelan believes it is poor of the Seagulls not to negotiate a deal but suggests that the Whites’ interest is not over just yet.

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Whelan told Football Insider: “It’s a disappointing situation because Brighton haven’t really been that bothered about him until now.

“From the progression of going to Newport, then Peterborough and then being on loan at Leeds Unite for a full season, all of a sudden they’re interested. They’ve just gone and bought another centre-half so what does that actually say?

“It’s very disappointing, we would love to have him at the club but we’re not going to be held to ransom by a team that’s not even used their own player and if they are going to keep him, then let’s hope they use him or shove him on the bench.

“I’d love him at the club, I’m sure it’s not over, I’m sure there’s other clubs still interested as well but I think it’s pretty poor, I think he probably wants to stay at Leeds quite frankly, he’s settled, likes the environment, likes the manager, loves the club and he gets on with all the teammates.

“The only other option he has is to throw in a transfer request and forfeit any money that’s due to him.”

In other Leeds United news, Noel Whelan claims a senior star “has had enough” at Elland Road.