Ben White was called up to England's squad for the Euros to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold

Arsenal are close to reaching an agreement with Brighton for England defender Ben White in a move that could be worth up to £50 million.

White has emerged as a key target for Arsenal, who are keen to strengthen their defence following the departure of David Luiz at the end of last season.

The 23-year-old impressed last year in his first season in the Premier League, playing a variety of roles for Graham Potter’s side and earning a surprise call-up to the England squad ahead of the European Championship.

White’s versatility means he could line up as a right-back or central midfielder for Mikel Arteta’s side but his favoured role is as a centre-back.

If the final details of the transfer fee can be agreed, as expected, then White will become one of Arsenal’s most expensive ever signings. They have only twice spent more than £50m on a player, in the deals for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£57m from Borussia Dortmund) and Nicolas Pepe (£72m from Lille).

White will compete with the likes of Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhães, Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers for a place in Arteta’s side. Young defender William Saliba is also due to be involved in the first-team squad next season, although his future remains uncertain amid interest from France.

It is a sign of White’s progress at Brighton this season that this potential move comes a year after his club rejected a £25m offer from Leeds United for his services. 

White represented Peterborough United in League One for a year before he spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Leeds and was seen as one of the best ball-playing defenders in the Championship during his time under Marcelo Bielsa’s management. White played every minute of that campaign at Leeds and started 36 of 38 league games for Brighton last season.