Leeds United appear to have been dealt a huge blow in their pursuit of Ben White, according to a BBC Sport report.
The 22-year-old joined Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites on loan last summer from Brighton and proved a revelation at Elland Road.
White, who hadn’t made an appearance in English football’s top two divisions prior to his Leeds loan, featured in every one of their Championship games en route to the title.
At the end of the season, White was named Leeds’ young player of the year, and now the Whites reportedly want to sign him permanently, but two bids are believed to have been turned down by Brighton.
Now, according to BBC Sport, the Seagulls have told Leeds that White is not for sale and have “made it clear” they view the centre-back as part of their long-term plans.
In addition, reports of a fresh £30million bid have been deemed “wide of the mark” by the outlet.
A disappointing but hardly surprising report regarding White, who has been sensational on and off the pitch for Leeds – so why would Brighton simply sell him to a Premier League rival instead of drafting him into their own first team?
As an asset whose value is only going to be going up in the coming years, not to mention the on-the-pitch contributions he could be making for his team, it’s understandable that Brighton want to keep him.
Leeds might have an advantage over other reported suitors in terms of White having shone at Elland Road and getting on with club employees and fans alike, but it’ll be tough for them to get their hands on a player who the Seagulls also rate very highly.
“He’s our player, he’s got a long contract with us,” Brighton boss Graham Potter said in July. “I know about his qualities. He’s a fantastic player.
“He’s done brilliantly at Leeds and helped them get promotion – that’s fantastic for them, fantastic for him – but he’s our player and we’re looking forward to working with him.
“We like him a lot. He’s a really good player and thankfully he’s our player. He complements us really well. He’s got attributes that are really, really useful and he’s going to be a top player.”