Leeds United face battle to sign Ben White, says Phil Hay

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Leeds United have got plenty of work to do this summer.

After securing promotion in emphatic fashion last term, attention promptly turns to putting plans in place for the season ahead.

It's been a long road back to the Premier League and that means that the club are determined to make a success of things.

If the Whites are to mix it with the big boys this term then they're almost certainly need to strenghthen.

Marcelo Bielsa is likely to keep a relatively similar squad to last term, but there will certainly be room for improvements.

But while new players will be targeted, it's a familiar face who seems to be at the top of the list.

Ben White was a revelation during his season at Elland Road, and The Athletic have claimed that he's a player who the club want to sign permanently.

But according to Phil Hay, it seems that the pursuit of the Brighton man is far from straight forward.

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Asked if Leeds have enquired for White, Hay said: "Yes, but so far Brighton have been less than encouraging.

"They maintain that they don’t want to sell White but he’s a major priority for Leeds in this window.

"As we’ve all seen, he fits Bielsa’s system perfectly and he has the makings of an elite, top-class centre-back. White is due to return to training with Brighton shortly and that’s when the picture around him should become clearer.

"His salary is a mile below the prominent first-team defenders at Albion and the club will have to address that if they want to keep him happy. Their offers so far haven’t been successful.

"What I thought was quite telling was Brighton’s owner, Tony Bloom, admitting to us a few days ago they have an “abundance of centre-backs”, which implied that they have too many.

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"Something tells me Leeds wouldn’t be wasting time with this if they thought a deal for White was dead in the water.

"And ultimately, what does White want? Bielsa and Leeds have been very good for him."

GIVEMESPORT'S Phil Spencer says...

It's absolutely no surprise that Leeds United and Brighton are at loggerheads over this one.

Ben White is one of the most highly-rated talents in England at the moment and that means that his future is going to take some deciding.

Leeds are determined to bring him back to Elland Road this term after such an outstanding season, while the Seagulls, quite rightly, are keen to keep hold of their prized asset.

That's before we even discuss the reported interest from clubs such as Chelsea and Liverpool.

I wouldn't expect a decision to be made on his future until nearer the end of the transfer window, as neither party will want to give up on this one.

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