Could this be the glimmer of hope that Leeds United fans have been crying out for in the club’s pursuit of Ben White this summer?
Brighton have signed yet another defender, and many supporters have taken to Twitter to express their belief that it could be the spark that ignites the fuse on White returning to Elland Road for next season.
The Seagulls confirmed the news via their official Twitter account on Friday evening, before Yorkshire Evening Post reporter Graham Smyth shared the announcement alongside the somewhat sarcastic caption: “Need more defenders”.
But before we get too excited, let’s break down what this actually means for White, and therefore Leeds.
The player who Brighton have signed is Belgian centre-back Lars Dendoncker.
He is a 19-year-old who arrives from the youth system at Club Brugges on a free transfer.
So far, so good.
But things look a lot less promising when you begin to realise that Dendoncker is quite a long way off being a first team challenger.
The youngster never made a senior appearance for his former side, and will actually join up with the U23s on the south coast.
By contrast, we heard from Brighton stopper Christian Walton just yesterday that White is expected to challenge for a starting role next term.
So, should we abandon all hope?
Maybe not just yet.
Yes, Brighton have made it clear that they do not intend to part with White, but it’s hard to deny that they have an embarrassment of riches at centre-back already.
With Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster, Shane Duffy, Matt Clarke, Dan Burn, and Joel Veltman in the squad, the path to a regular first team path won’t be a clear one.
Who’s to say that Dendoncker can’t add his name to that list in the coming months?
Let’s not forget, the transfer window is open until October.
If the season starts and White is struggling for minutes, anything could happen with regards to where he sees his future.
Bringing in another bright young thing at the heart of defence, reserve team or otherwise, will only complicate things further.
This deal won’t necessarily be the one that heralds the return on White to Leeds, but expect this saga to rumble on for a while yet.
Here are some of the best tweets from excited Leeds fans:
Message to Graham Potter: Ben White is concerned about the competition for places and wants to hand in a transfer request. <respond>
— Tony D (@tonypdickinson) August 7, 2020
Would white be straight in above Dunk, Veltman, Webster. This kid could be there future instead of White hopefully
— Herbie (@justanobody30) August 7, 2020
Brighton's position is quickly becoming indefensible
— The Adelites 🏆 💛💙 (@theadelites) August 7, 2020
even if it is for u23’s, they still keep buying and buying more defenders, this is going to be a long window oh god 🤞🏼👀
— PREMIER LEAGUE, YOU MISSED US? (@__aimeelouisee) August 7, 2020
I’m assuming this is Potters way of explaining to the board why he needs to sell White.
— BROLIN ATE THE PIE 🏆 (@1971LeedsUnited) August 7, 2020
At this rate White will be playing left wing if he stays
— Sam Ender (@samender91) August 7, 2020
Clearly preparing for one to leave. Right? RIGHT!!?
— David Wilkinson (@DaveWilkinson87) August 7, 2020
Dunk to Chelsea, White to Leeds
— lufcmat (@Mathew1982) August 7, 2020
Bye bye ben 👋👋👋
— Tony LUFC 🏆 (@Tonylufc28) August 7, 2020
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