Brighton and Hove Albion have made a clear statement of their intent to hang on to Leeds United loanee Ben White next season.
The 22-year-old has been a huge success since arriving at Elland Road on loan at the beginning of the season, making 40 appearances across all competitions this term.
But he still has two years left to run on his current contract with his parent club, and technical director Dan Ashworth has made it clear that he is eager for the centre-back to return to the Premier League side for the 2020/21 campaign – regardless of if they retain their top flight status or not.
Ashworth also disclosed that he has held talks with Leeds sporting director Victor Orta over White’s progress at Elland Road.
As quoted by local outlet The Argus, he said: “I was speaking with their [Leeds’] sporting director and he [White] has done really well.
“He is still well contracted with us. He signed a new contract in the summer before he went out so we have still got plenty left on him.
“As soon as he comes back, we will see where we are, we will see where the season resumes, what league we are in, etc, etc.
“He would certainly be part of plans in either scenario and a young talent we would be looking to keep here for a number of years.”
As disappointing as this update is, it probably shouldn’t come as a massive surprise.
White has had a superb season in Yorkshire, so much so that Liverpool have even been linked with a potential swoop for him, as per Football Insider.
There have been widespread doubts over the Whites’ hopes of hanging on to the defender too.
As recently as last month, Paul Robinson expressed his belief that a potential move to Anfield could derail any chances of Leeds retaining his services, while The Athletic journalist Phil Hay (April 24th) has also claimed that there is a mounting “sense of resignation” over the prospect of the 22-year-old staying for a second year.
Now, with this latest update straight from the horse’s mouth, the chances of him staying seem slimmer than ever.
Of course, nothing is written in stone just yet, and stranger things have happened, but if we are to secure White beyond this summer, it looks set to be a real uphill battle.
In other Leeds United news, ‘I’d like to see Leeds and West Brom promoted’ – Sky pundit wants top two up if season abandoned.