Arsenal legend Martin Keown has claimed that his former side made a mistake by signing Ben White from Brighton and Hove Albion.
The 23-year-old joined the Gunners for a staggering £50 million last month. (Sky Sports) His first two appearances came in pre-season and he was absolutely outstanding then, but his competitive debut for us didn’t quite go as well as he would’ve liked.
Arsenal’s defence looked terrible against Brentford on the opening day of the new Premier League season. White may not have been directly at fault, but he definitely shares the blame, especially for the second goal.
Martin Keown: Ben White has a glaring weakness in his game
He said on Stadium Astro: “What Arsenal need is people who can defend. You look at it now and [Jannik] Vestergaard was available and he’s on his way to Leicester. He’s 6ft 4 or 6ft 5 and I’m pretty certain he’d be dealing with those balls coming into the box. So recruitment is all-important.
“There were other central defenders available. At £50m he could still probably prove to be a good signing but you’ve got the likes of [Joachim] Andersen signing for Palace. So, you take your chances.
“Of course, the manager is part of that and you’re then hoping they are going to put the performances in and you need a central defender for all occasions, but Friday showed a glaring weakness in Ben White’s game. But, that can be worked on, you can improve that area.”
The Insider’s View:
All eyes were on White when we faced Brentford, and in all honesty, he didn’t have a great game. However, no Arsenal player bar maybe Kieran Tierney and Emile Smith Rowe impressed, so, it would be wrong to be overly critical of the £50 million man.
Keown is not the first pundit to ask questions about White’s price tag and he certainly won’t be the last one. Vestergaard and Andersen are both quality players, but the former Brighton man’s ceiling is arguably higher than both of them combined.
Arsenal were right to sign White and one average performance won’t change that. However, the Englishman has to step up against Chelsea this weekend. If he doesn’t, Romelu Lukaku could have a field day against us at the Emirates.