It’s going to be a sad day if and when Ben White leaves Leeds United.
The loanee has been a revelation at Elland Road this season, and at just 22 years of age, has a huge future ahead of him.
Which is why Alan Nixon’s reminder of the situation surrounding the defender will do little to appease desperate Whites supporters.
When asked whether White would rather stay at Leeds next season instead of returning to Brighton, The Sun reporter wrote on his personal Twitter account: “He’s a Brighton player. And they want to keep him.
“Plus if they wanted to there’s a massive sale to a top club a phone call away.”
Without speculating too much on which “massive” club that could be – although Liverpool have been linked with a potential swoop – the point remains that Leeds’ hopes of securing White’s services beyond this summer look to be dwindling.
And that’s made doubly frustrating by the kind of stellar performances that he put in against Fulham on Saturday, for instance.
White won 12 out of his 15 contested defensive duels in the 3-0 win – his highest tally of 2020 to date, as per Wyscout.
What really stands out, however, is just how advanced some of those battles were.
White’s superb reading of the game means that he is able to detect danger earlier, react sooner, and win the ball higher up the pitch.
This reduces the opposition’s threat, clearly, but also allows Leeds to sustain their own periods of pressure more effectively.
That fact is reflected by Leeds having a match tempo index of 16.83 to their opponents’ 14.24 this season, as per Wyscout.
He isn’t just about pushing forward though.
White also made seven interceptions on Saturday – his joint second-highest tally of 2020.
Four of those were inside his own box, while one was inside his own six-yard box.
You cannot underestimate the importance of having a player who can put his foot in in those situations, because those are the interventions that can literally prevent goals and save matches.
Take the example above.
If White doesn’t get his head to that ball, Aleksandr Mitrovic has got goal-side of his man and has a free header at goal from six yards out.
With the score at 1-0, those are the moments that can have a huge influence on the outcome of a match.
Bearing that in mind, Nixon’s latest update is even more difficult to swallow.
Losing White will be a seismic blow, and it looks like we have little hope of preventing it.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites must fork out a six-figure sum of money to this club if they win promotion.