Man Utd: The inside story on the new directors
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Manchester United have contacted Brighton and Hove Albion about the possibility of signing defender Ben White during the summer transfer window, according to reports. The 23-year-old has featured heavily for the Seagulls since returning from a stellar campaign in the Championship on loan with Leeds United last season.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is said to be in the hunt for a ball-playing centre back to occupy the left side of their defensive pairing.
A number of big names from across the continent have been tipped to join the Old Trafford club in recent months.
Bayern Munich-bound Dayot Upamecano found himself engulfed in speculation over a move until the end of January, while his RB Leipzig team-mate Ibrahima Kounde is a newer link.
However, it seems as though Solskjaer may be looking closer to home in the form of White, who has excelled at Brighton for the vast majority of the campaign.
United have made ‘recent enquiries’ after monitoring the defender’s progress for some time, according to journalist Jonathan Shrager.
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The Red Devils and Liverpool have both been touted as potential destinations for White, but it appears the former have taken the extra step of acting on their interest.
The player’s future was shrouded in uncertainty during the summer months, with Leeds mounting a highly-publicised approach to land their former loanee on a permanent basis.
Although White was reported to be keen on a move back to Yorkshire, Brighton held firm and eventually tied their man down to a long-term contract after the closure of the transfer window.
The Seagulls have gained something of a reputation for cultivating quality central defenders in recent seasons, with Lewis Dunk and Adam Webster serving as two further examples that have flourished at the Amex Stadium.
White cut his teeth in the senior game with initial loan spells at Newport County and Peterborough United in League Two and League One respectively, before helping Leeds stroll to the Championship title last season.
Charismatic former boss Marcelo Bielsa remains a huge fan of the centre-back, who played in every league match for the Yorkshire outfit during their promotion-winning campaign.
This season, White has played 26 times in the Premier League for Brighton, helping to keep eight clean sheets in the process.
His calm distribution and fantastic defensive positioning would effectively complement the physical approach of Harry Maguire at United, with Solskjaer having identified the middle of the back four as a position in need of reinforcement when the transfer window reopens.
The 20-time Premier League champions are believed to be tracking a number of other potential signings ahead of the summer.
Solskjaer is also looking to land a striker to replace Edinson Cavani, with the veteran forward likely to leave the club after the expiry of his one-year contract.
Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland has been tipped to make a big-money switch to United at the end of the season.
Solskjaer admitted last month that he remains in contact with the 20-year-old, who made his professional debut under the Norwegian boss at Molde four years ago.
“When you have had kids and players through as a coach, you follow them and I keep in touch with Erling,” he told reporters.
“It’s great to see him become the player he has become and [how] he works to improve all the time.
“He’s a Dortmund player [so] we just wish him well there and let’s see what life will bring later on.”
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