Arsenal signs center back Ben White from Brighton

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal signed defender Ben White to a long-term contract on Friday after luring the England center back away from Brighton, which described the transfer fee it received as a club record.

The teams did not disclose details but it was widely reported the fee was 50 million pounds ($69.5 million), and the length of contract five years.

The 23-year-old White was a member of the England team in the European Championship after 36 Premier League appearances last season for the south-coast club.

“Ben has been a key target this summer,” Arsenal technical director Edu said. “He has so many qualities which make us so excited he’s joining us. Ben’s a young English player with a great future. He’s very strong defensively, good on the ball with a great passing range.”

White had a breakthrough season on loan with Leeds in 2019-20, when Marcelo Bielsa helped them to earn promotion to the Premier League. White led Brighton in minutes played last season.

He made his debut for England in June against Austria and replaced injured Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold in the Euro 2020 squad that lost to Italy in the final.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said White was “educated with two very good clubs,” Brighton and Leeds.

“Ben is an intelligent defender who is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and his style fits perfectly with us,” Arteta said. “And of course, he is still young, so his age and profile fits with what we are building here. We are all looking forward to Ben being central to our future long-term plans.”

White joined the south-coast club’s academy in 2016 and “has come an incredible way in a short period of time,” Brighton manager Graham Potter said.

That time included loan spells with lower-tier Newport and Peterborough.

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