Ben White became one of Leeds United’s first signings of the summer on Monday as he joined the Whites on loan.
Leeds kicked their summer into another gear on Monday as they announced the loan signings of both Jack Harrison and Ben White as Marcelo Bielsa looks to build the squad capable of getting the side promoted at the second time of asking.
While Leeds fans will have a good idea of what to expect from Harrison, White’s arrival is an interesting one. Brighton would have surely not allowed him to move to Elland Road without some assurances regarding the amount of game-time he will get during the coming season.
That would suggest that both Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson could come under pressure from the youngster. But there is perhaps one player in the Whites ranks who should be particularly pleased that the centre-back has joined the club for the year.
Kalvin Phillips was exceptional for the large majority of last season. He was a revelation as Bielsa converted the academy graduate into the holding midfielder who could drop deeper to create a back three.
Phillips took to the role so superbly that it is a wonder that none of his previous managers had the same vision as Bielsa, especially as all of them – barring Steve Evans – made the youngster an important part of their plans.
However, the 23-year-old was not quite as influential when he was asked to play as a centre-back as injuries almost decimated the Leeds ranks. Given that he is not naturally a defender, he still did remarkably well. But Leeds generally looked to be at their best when Cooper and Jansson were together at the back and Phillips was just ahead of the pair.
White’s arrival means that Bielsa now has three natural centre-backs, while the likes of Gaetano Berardi, Aapo Halme and Pascal Struijk are also available.
That amount of depth should ensure that Phillips – who Leeds rate at £30 million, according to The Sun – is able to solely focus on his role in midfield. Leeds’ defence should be stronger now that White has joined, but perhaps it is Phillips that will benefit most from the transfer.