Ben White backed to succeed at Arsenal by his former boss Graham Potter

England international White moved to the Emirates Stadium for a fee in the region of £50million.

Ed Elliot
Thursday 30 September 2021 14:51
Arsenal defender Ben White is poised to return to former club Brighton this weekend (John Walton/PA)
Arsenal defender Ben White is poised to return to former club Brighton this weekend (John Walton/PA)

Brighton boss Graham Potter has backed Ben White for a successful career with Arsenal ahead of the defender’s Amex Stadium return.

England international White switched to the Emirates Stadium in July for a club-record sale in the region of £50million, having been the Seagulls’ player of the season last term.

The 23-year-old was criticised following his Arsenal debut – a 2-0 loss at Brentford in the first game of the season – but has recovered to help his new side to three successive wins, including last weekend’s north London derby success over Tottenham.

He is due back in Sussex on Saturday evening when high-flying Brighton host Mikel Arteta’s men in the Premier League.

Potter remains a big admirer of his former player and believes the big-money summer transfer was good business for all parties.

“Whenever you move club, it’s not a straightforward situation, it’s not so easy to hit the ground running,” said Potter, referring to White’s underwhelming Arsenal debut.

“I think Arsenal as a team had a tough game against Brentford, but that was the first game of the season and they had lots of issues in terms of Covid, so it was not the perfect situation for him.

“But Ben ’s a resilient character, a fantastic footballer, a great guy, we all love him here, so apart from obviously the weekend we wish him well – and I’m sure he will do well.

“It (the transfer) was one of those things, I think everybody won from that situation: we got a good fee, they got a good player, Ben gets a chance to play at a club that he sees as a progression for him, so everybody wins.”

White spent just one full season in Brighton colours following a series of successful loan moves to clubs in lower divisions.

He travels to the south coast with Arsenal four points and as many places behind their in-form hosts.

Brighton continued their strong start to the season by scraping a last-gasp 1-1 draw at rivals Crystal Palace on Monday evening, making it 13 points from a possible 18.

However, the short trip to Selhurst Park came at a cost, with Steven Alzate and Danny Welbeck forced off injured.

Alzate is set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines due to an ankle problem, while Welbeck is seeing a specialist about his hamstring problem and a major doubt for the weekend.

Yves Bissouma, who was absent against Palace due to a knee injury, will be assessed but Enock Mwepu (groin) is expected to again miss out.

Influential midfielder Bissouma was injured in the 2-1 win over Leicester on September 19 and initially attempted to carry on, although Potter does not believe that exacerbated the issue.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily made it any worse, as far as I know – and the medial guys have said the same,” said Potter.

“It’s just as soon as he was injured, there was going to be a bit of soreness afterwards, sometimes it’s really hard to assess at the time.

“I leave those decisions with the player and the medical team.”

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